Posts in category English

A data-driven approach to infer spatial characteristics and service reliability of public transport hubs

Public transport hubs play an important and a central role in public transport networks by connecting several public transport lines from one or multiple network levels. Hubs can be characterized by a large relative and absolute number of transferring passengers between public transport services within the same network level and/or between different network levels. Hubs are especially important with respect to service reliability of passenger journeys, since missing connections at hubs can substantially increase the nominal and perceived passenger journey travel time. The availability of AFC and AVL data allows an in-depth analysis of hub definition, identification, characterization and reliability performance evaluation. Such analysis enables optimisation of synchronisation of schedules, thereby increase the level of service reliability.

Find our TransitData2017 presentation HERE

Insights into door-to-door travel patterns of public transport passengers

Public transport enables fast and reliable station to station journeys. To assess passenger travel patterns and to infer actual quality of service, smartcard and AVL data offer great opportunities. There is, however, an increasing interest in insights into access and egress dynamics of public transport riders as well. What is the size of a stop’s catchment area, which modes are used, and how long and reliable are access and egress times? The answers to these and other questions enable optimization of the total mobility system, thereby also increasing public transport ridership and efficiency. Sufficient biking access of public transport stops (routes and parking), for instance, offer opportunities to increase public transport stopping distances, thereby increasing operational speed and reliability, without compromising accessibility of service areas. We developed a methodology to calculate and demonstrate these dynamics by using new and existing data technologies, namely AVL, survey and new promising app.

Find the Transit Data Conference abstract HERE and our presentation HERE

Optimization of a passenger railway transportation plan considering mobility flows and service quality

This research focuses on designing transportation plan for SNCF Transilien (French railway
operator for the Parisian suburban mass transit). The objective is to develop methods
and decision support tools to propose a timetable adapted to the passenger demand in the
Parisian mass transit system, including comfort and reliability criterias.
This paper aims to present the first step of this research. We propose a graph theoretic
ILP formulation for the Line Planning Problem, minimizing both travelers travel time and
operating cost. We furthermore develop a multi-objective method to solve this problem.
This method offers a pool of solutions in order to let the final designer choose the solution.
We report computational results on real world instances provided from SNCF Transilien.

Check the RAIL Lille paper of Lucile Brethome et al. HERE

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

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 Den Haag, the Netherlands, by comparing predicted and realized public transport ridership using smart card data. A two-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. 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. At last, no higher waiting time perception for temporary rail-replacement services could be found, compared to regular tram and bus services. The new parameter set leads to substantially 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.

Read our TRB paper HERE

Find the poster HERE

Investigating potential transit ridership by fusing smartcard and GSM data

The public transport industry faces challenges to cater for the variety of mobility patterns and corresponding needs and preferences of passengers. Travel habit surveys provide information on the overall travel demand as well as its spatial variation. However, it often does not include information on temporal variations. By means of data fusion of smartcard and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) data, spatial and temporal patterns of public transport usage versus the overall travel demand are examined. The analysis is performed by contrasting different spatial and temporal levels of smartcard and GSM data. The methodology is applied to a case study in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, to analyze whether the current service span is adequate. The results suggest that there is potential demand for 10 extending public transport service span on both ends. In the early mornings, right before transit operations are resumed, an hour-on-hour increase in visitor occupancy of 33-88% is observed in several zones, thereby showing potential demand for additional public transport services. The proposed data fusion method showed to be valuable in supporting tactical transit planning and decision making and can easily be applied to other origin-destination transport data.

Read our TRB paper HERE

Find our presentation HERE

Self driving solutions and public transport

The development of self-driving solutions is growing exponentially. Major industries are developing vehicles, sensors and mapping systems that help to achieve the goal of driverless mobility. How can we prepare the city for these self-driving solutions? And in what ways can a city benefit from these solutions? What are the possibilities and challenges of the realization of the self-driving car as a last-mile option in Amsterdam?

Part of the discussion was on the (new) role of public transport: will it dissapear completely of will business remain as usual? Major question is what do we want to achieve in our cities and what means do we have to get to that point? We should look at the strengths of all modes and find the optimal mix. Stop to stop mass transport is the stregth of public transport, the bike plays a major role in short distances and access to these stops. So the first potential role for automated vehicles might be in egress transport?

See the presentations and discussion HERE

Data driven enhancement of public transport planning and operations: service reliability improvements and ridership predictions

Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) and smartcard data are of great value in planning, design and operations of public transport. We developed a transport demand model, which utilizes smartcard data for overall and what-if analyses, by converting these data into passengers per line and OD-matrixes and allowing network changes on top of a base scenario. This new generation model serves in addition to the existing range of transport demand models and approaches. It proved itself in practice during a case study in The Hague, where it helped the operator gain valuable insights into the effect of small network changes, such as a higher frequency.
Data also supports measures to improve service reliability. We introduced a new network design dilemma, namely the length of a transit line vs. its reliability. Long lines offer many direct connections, thereby saving transfers. However, the variability in operation is often negatively related to the length of a line, leading to poorer schedule adherence and additional waiting time for passengers. A data driven case study shows that in the case of long lines with large variability, enhanced reliability resulting from splitting the line could result in less additional travel time. This advantage compensates for the additional time of transferring if the transfer point is well chosen.

Read the full paper here: TRA Conference 2016 Van Oort Data driven enhancement of PT

or check the poster: TRA2016 Conference Poster

International rail summit 2016: Big Data and rail

Big Data also enter the railway industry. Board computers, passenger smart cards and cell phones provide valuable data to enhance design of networks and timetables. Big Data supports the improvement of transport models and cost benefit analyses (CBAs). An example of success was the approval of a new light rail in Utrecht, the Netherlands. It was not common use to consider reliability benefits explicitly, but in this case they were responsible for the positive cost benefit ratio.

Find my presentation at the Railsummit 2016 HERE

Rail summit website

New generation of public transport models: predicting ridership by smartcard data

In the public transport industry we observe the rise of a new generation of transport demand models. We applied Dutch smart card data for analysis of passenger volumes and routing and performed what-if analyses by using existing transport planning software. We focused specifically on public transport operators by providing them relative simple (easy to build, low calculation time) models to perform these what-if analyses. The data, including transfer information, is converted to passengers per line and an OD-matrix between stops. This matrix is assigned to the network to reproduce the measured passenger flows. After this step, what-if analysis becomes possible. The effects of line changes on route choice can already be investigated when fixed demand is assumed. However, by introducing an elastic demand model the realism of the modeled effects is improved, because network changes induce changes in level of service, which affects the demand for public transportation. This elastic demand model was applied on a case study in The Hague. We imported the smart card data into a transport model and connected the data with the network. The tool turned out to be very valuable for the operator to gain insights into the effects of small network changes.
In addition to this basic model, we also applied a capacity constrained assignment method. The most important aspects on which passengers base their choice for public transport travelling are the perceived travel time, costs, reliability and comfort. Despite this importance, comfort is often not explicitly considered when predicting demand. The case study results indicate that not considering capacity and comfort effects can lead to a substantial underestimation of effects of certain measures aiming to improve public transport. This means that benefits of measures that reduce crowding for both passengers and operators can now be quantified and incorporated in the decision-making process. We also illustrate that this extended modelling framework can be applied in practice, requiring short calculation times and leading to better predictions of public transport demand.

Find our ETC 2015 presentation HERE

Improving public transport decision making, planning and operations by using Big Data: Cases from Sweden and the Netherlands

New big data (sources) in the public transport industry enable to deal with major challenges such as elevating efficiency, increasing passenger ridership and satisfaction and facilitate the information flow between service providers and service users. This paper presents two actual cases from the Netherlands and Sweden in which automated data sources were utilized to support the planning and operational processes. The cases illustrate the benefits of using smartcard and vehicle positioning data. Due to the data (processing), valuable insights were gained helping to make the right choices and improve the public transport system.

Read our paper: Workshop paper IEEE ITSC 2015 and check our presentation: Presentation IEEE ITSC15

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