Exploring equity in public transportation planning using smart card data

Kiarash Ghasemlou*, Murat Ergun, Nima Dadashzadeh

*Corresponding author for this work

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Existing public transport (PT) planning methods use a trip-based approach, rather than a user-based approach, leading to neglecting equity. In other words, the impacts of regular users—i.e., users with higher trip rates—are overrepresented during analysis and modelling because of higher trip rates. In contrast to the existing studies, this study aims to show the actual demand characteristic and users’ share are different in daily and monthly data. For this, 1-month of smart card data from the Kocaeli, Turkey, was evaluated by means of specific variables, such as boarding frequency, cardholder types, and the number of users, as well as a breakdown of the number of days traveled by each user set. Results show that the proportion of regular PT users to total users in 1 workday, is higher than the monthly proportion of regular PT users to total users. Accordingly, users who have 16–21 days boarding frequency are 16% of the total users, and yet they have been overrepresented by 39% in the 1-day analysis. Moreover, users who have 1–6 days boarding frequency, have a share of 66% in the 1-month dataset and are underrepresented with a share of 22% in the 1-day analysis. Results indicated that the daily travel data without information related to the day-to-day frequency of trips and PT use caused incorrect estimation of real PT demand. Moreover, user-based analyzing approach over a month prepares the more realistic basis for transportation planning, design, and prioritization of transport investments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3039
Number of pages23
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2021


  • Cost benefit analysis
  • Equity
  • Human centric planning
  • Mobility pattern
  • Public transportation
  • Smart card data
  • Transport planning
  • Travel behavior


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