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Understanding behaviour through smartcard data analysis

Lookup NU author(s): Hannah Parker, Professor Phil BlytheORCiD


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A feature of public transport smartcard systems that could greatly improve the business case for smartcard investment and deployment is the vast amount of data gathered during operation. Each time the card is used a transaction is recorded. The transaction is essentially a snapshot of the cardholder’s behaviour, such as the boarding location and time. If this information were collected and analysed, the potential would be to generate a dynamic passenger profile, which could continuously update itself as the data is produced. This provides the possibility for a much more coherent and in-depth understanding of user demand. The purpose of this paper is to question whether it is possible to create a service that is responsive and relevant to user needs, using additional knowledge of how travellers use public transport (captured from smartcard data analysis). Creating a service based upon meeting user demands could enhance the appeal of public transport and if this results in increased ridership, it would create a much more healthy business case for smartcards. It could also encourage and facilitate the modal shift that is required for the sustainable development of the transport industry.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bryan HR, Blythe PT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Transport

Year: 2007

Volume: 160

Issue: 4

Pages: 173-177

ISSN (print): 0965-092X

ISSN (electronic): 1751-7710

Publisher: Thomas Telford Ltd.


DOI: 10.1680/tran.2007.160.4.173


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