The Effects of Weather on Passenger Flow of Urban Rail Transit

Xiaoyuan Wang, Yongqing Guo, Chenglin Bai, Shanliang Liu, Shijie Liu, Junyan Han


Predicting passenger flow on urban rail transit is important for the planning, design and decision-making of rail transit. Weather is an important factor that affects the passenger flow of rail transit by changing the travel mode choice of urban residents. This study aims to explore the influence of weather on urban rail transit ridership, taking four cities in China as examples, Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu. To determine the weather effect on daily ridership rate, the three models were proposed with different combinations of the factors of temperature and weather type, using linear regression method.   The large quantities of data were applied to validate the developed models.  The results show that in Guangzhou, the daily ridership rate of rail transit increases with increasing temperature. In Chengdu, the ridership rate increases in rainy days compared to sunny days. While, in Beijing and Shanghai, the ridership rate increases in light rainfall and heavy rainfall (except moderate rainfall) compared to sunny days. The research findings are important to understand the impact of weather on passenger flow of urban rail transit. The findings can provide effective strategies to rail transit operators to deal with the fluctuation in daily passenger flow.


Urban Rail Transit; Weather Effect; Passenger Flow; Estimation Model.


Singhal, Abhishek, Camille Kamga, and Anil Yazici. “Impact of Weather on Urban Transit Ridership.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 69 (November 2014): 379–391. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2014.09.008.

Kalkstein, Adam J, Michael Kuby, Daniel Gerrity, and James J Clancy. “An Analysis of Air Mass Effects on Rail Ridership in Three US Cities.” Journal of Transport Geography 17, no. 3 (May 2009): 198–207. doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2008.07.003.

Keay, Kevin, and Ian Simmonds. “The Association of Rainfall and Other Weather Variables with Road Traffic Volume in Melbourne, Australia.” Accident Analysis & Prevention 37, no. 1 (January 2005): 109–124. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2004.07.005.

Brijs, Tom, Dimitris Karlis, and Geert Wets. “Studying the Effect of Weather Conditions on Daily Crash Counts Using a Discrete Time-Series Model.” Accident Analysis & Prevention 40, no. 3 (May 2008): 1180–1190. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2008.01.001.

Park, Byungkyu, Theresa K. Jones, and Stephen O. Griffin. Traffic analysis toolbox volume XI: weather and traffic analysis, modeling and simulation. No. FHWA-JPO-11-019. United States. Federal Highway Administration, 2010.

Liu, Chengxi, Yusak O. Susilo, and Anders Karlström. “Investigating the Impacts of Weather Variability on Individual’s Daily Activity–travel Patterns: A Comparison between Commuters and Non-Commuters in Sweden.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 82 (December 2015): 47–64. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2015.09.005.

Sohn, Keemin, and Hyunjin Shim. “Factors Generating Boardings at Metro Stations in the Seoul Metropolitan Area.” Cities 27, no. 5 (October 2010): 358–368. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2010.05.001.

Taylor, Brian D., Douglas Miller, Hiroyuki Iseki, and Camille Fink. “Nature and/or Nurture? Analyzing the Determinants of Transit Ridership across US Urbanized Areas.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 43, no. 1 (January 2009): 60–77. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2008.06.007.

Kusakabe, Takahiko, and Yasuo Asakura. “Behavioural Data Mining of Transit Smart Card Data: A Data Fusion Approach.” Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 46 (September 2014): 179–191. doi:10.1016/j.trc.2014.05.012.

Gaudry, Marc, and André Arbic. "On the demand for and value of monthly transit passes within the framework of the demtec transit ridership demand model." Research paper, Agora Jules Dupuit, Publication AJD-21, University of Montreal, Canada (1996).

Outwater, Maren L., Greg Spitz, John Lobb, Margaret Campbell, Bhargava Sana, Ram Pendyala, and William Woodford. “Characteristics of Premium Transit Services That Affect Mode Choice.” Transportation 38, no. 4 (April 22, 2011): 605–623. doi:10.1007/s11116-011-9334-0.

Changnon, Stanley A. “Effects of Summer Precipitation on Urban Transportation.” Climatic Change 32, no. 4 (April 1996): 481–494. doi:10.1007/bf00140357.

Cravo, V. S., Cohen, J. and Williams, A. “Impact of Weather on Transit Revenue in New York City.” Transportation Research Board 88th Annual Meeting, Washington DC, United States, January (2009): 11-15.

Guo, Zhan, Nigel H. M. Wilson, and Adam Rahbee. “Impact of Weather on Transit Ridership in Chicago, Illinois.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2034, no. 1 (January 2007): 3–10. doi:10.3141/2034-01.

Zhou, Meng, Donggen Wang, Qingquan Li, Yang Yue, Wei Tu, and Rui Cao. “Impacts of Weather on Public Transport Ridership: Results from Mining Data from Different Sources.” Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies 75 (February 2017): 17–29. doi:10.1016/j.trc.2016.12.001.

Wei, Ming, Jonathan Corcoran, Thomas Sigler, and Yan Liu. “Modeling the Influence of Weather on Transit Ridership: A Case Study from Brisbane, Australia.” Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board 2672, no. 8 (June 5, 2018): 505–510. doi:10.1177/0361198118777078.

Arana, P., S. Cabezudo, and M. Peñalba. “Influence of Weather Conditions on Transit Ridership: A Statistical Study Using Data from Smartcards.” Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice 59 (January 2014): 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.tra.2013.10.019.

Kashfi, Syeed Anta, Jonathan M. Bunker, and Tan Yigitcanlar. “Understanding the Effects of Complex Seasonality on Suburban Daily Transit Ridership.” Journal of Transport Geography 46 (June 2015): 67–80. doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2015.05.008.

Stover, Victor, and Edward McCormack. “The Impact of Weather on Bus Ridership in Pierce County, Washington.” Journal of Public Transportation 15, no. 1 (March 2012): 95–110. doi:10.5038/2375-0901.15.1.6.

Liu, Chengxi, Yusak O. Susilo, and Anders Karlström. “Weather Variability and Travel Behaviour – What We Know and What We Do Not Know.” Transport Reviews 37, no. 6 (February 20, 2017): 715–741. doi:10.1080/01441647.2017.1293188.

Zhao, Pengjun, Bin Lü, and Gert de Roo. “Impact of the Jobs-Housing Balance on Urban Commuting in Beijing in the Transformation Era.” Journal of Transport Geography 19, no. 1 (January 2011): 59–69. doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2009.09.008.

Qu, Licheng, Wei Li, Wenjing Li, Dongfang Ma, and Yinhai Wang. “Daily Long-Term Traffic Flow Forecasting Based on a Deep Neural Network.” Expert Systems with Applications 121 (May 2019): 304–312. doi:10.1016/j.eswa.2018.12.031.

Kashfi, S. A., Bunker, J. M. and Tan, Y.. “Modelling and analysing effects of complex seasonality and weather on an area's daily transit ridership rate.” Journal of Transport Geography 54 (Jun 2016): 310-324. doi: 10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2016.06.018.

Li, Junlong, Xuhong Li, Dawei Chen, and Lucy Godding. “Assessment of Metro Ridership Fluctuation Caused by Weather Conditions in Asian Context: Using Archived Weather and Ridership Data in Nanjing.” Journal of Transport Geography 66 (January 2018): 356–368. doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2017.10.023.

Full Text: PDF

DOI: 10.28991/cej-2020-03091449


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2020 Xiaoyuan Wang

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.