Improving predictions of public transport usage during disturbances based on smart card data

M. D. Yap*, S. Nijënstein, N. van Oort

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


The availability of smart card data from public transport travelling the last decades allows analyzing current and predicting future public transport usage. Public transport models are commonly applied to predict ridership due to structural network changes, using a calibrated parameter set. Predicting the impact of planned disturbances, like temporary track closures, on public transport ridership is however an unexplored area. In the Netherlands, this area becomes increasingly important, given the many track closures operators are confronted with the last and upcoming years. We investigated the passenger impact of four planned disturbances on the public transport network of The Hague, the Netherlands, by comparing predicted and realized public transport ridership using smart card data. A three-step search procedure is applied to find a parameter set resulting in higher prediction accuracy. We found that in-vehicle time in rail-replacing bus services is perceived ≈1.1 times more negatively compared to in-vehicle time perception in the initial tram line. Waiting time for temporary rail-replacement bus services is found to be perceived ≈1.3 times higher, compared to waiting time perception for regular tram and bus services. Besides, passengers do not seem to perceive the theoretical benefit of the usually higher frequency of rail-replacement bus services compared to the frequency of the replaced tram line. For the different case studies, the new parameter set results in 3% up to 13% higher prediction accuracy compared to the default parameter set. It supports public transport operators to better predict the required supply of rail-replacement services and to predict the impact on their revenues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-95
Number of pages12
JournalTransport Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


  • Disturbance
  • Passenger
  • Prediction
  • Public transport
  • Smart card


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