Greening suburban travel: smartcard data analysis

08 May 2019

As public transport agencies increasingly adopt the use of automatic data collection systems, a significant amount of boarding data becomes available, providing an excellent opportunity for transit planners to access spatial-temporal data which can be used for a better understanding of human mobility and the performance of a transit system. Smartcard data can be used to examine a whole network regularly, and to make practical estimates of passenger origin-destination (OD) patterns and is a great asset in understanding public transport reliability issues. Having knowledge of public transport travel demand and its reliability will facilitate the design of appropriate public transport routes, and increase the efficiency which will, in turn, enhance public transport patronage.
The data used in this research was provided by the Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) in Adelaide, South Australia for the month of May 2017. A methodology was developed, using SQL software and based on the trip chain model, to create an OD matrix for Adelaide’s bus users, and from it to estimate the demand for the system. Adelaide was chosen for this study because unlike in other cities, commuters scan their smartcard upon boarding but not on alighting. This allows the algorithm to be generic and therefore applicable elsewhere.

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