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Using Public Transport Smartcard Data to Better Understand Customer Needs and Attain a More Appealing Public Transport System

Lookup NU author(s): Hannah Parker


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The purpose for this study is to consider the immense amount of data that is collected everyday due to the ability to effectively capture information about all journeys made when smartcards are used for verification, authentication and payment on public transport. There is potential to use this information to obtain more customer focus when delivering products and striving for flow optimisation; however, currently, little in known about how to capture meaningful information from the data available. The study looks into this problem by analysing current smartcard transaction data, supplied by Nottinghamshire County Council from the use of their freedom card for concessionary travellers, school students, disabled and elderly. Anonymous smartcard data has been collected from a number of relatively busy bus routes and analysed to find the customer trends and build up a consolidated journey profile, which can be displayed spatially using GIS (Geographical Information System) and used to observe the customer demand and determine assumptions about the usage of each customer group. Currently, the amount of information is limited, therefore, with further customer information, such as the user’s postcode, it could be possible to find out much more information that could be used for flow, demand and resource management. Further more, as privacy issues are addressed and smartcards are integrated with other applications and technologies in the future, public transport could easily become more accessible and appealing. For full paper go to

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bryan HR

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Unknown

Conference Name: 5th Moving On

Year of Conference: 2006