Influence of weather on bus ridership


flickr photo shared by Reasonable Excuse under a Creative Commons ( BY-NC ) license

It's going to be another warm week here in Berkeley, as the Summer unofficially begins. A new article, "The influence of weather on local geographical patterns of bus usage" by Sui Taoa, Jonathan Corcoranb, Mark Hickmana, and Robert Stimsonc, in the Journal of Transport Georgraphy that looks at how weather patterns affect bus ridership. 

This paper broadens the research on weather and public transport usage by considering the micro dynamics of the effect that various weather conditions impose on micro geographic patterns of bus ridership in Brisbane, Australia. A smart card data set and detailed measurements of weather, allied with a suite of statistical and visual analytic techniques, are employed to capture the effect of weather on the local variations of bus ridership. While changes in weather conditions do not significantly affect bus ridership at the system level, some marked influence was found for rainfall, wind speed and relative humidity at a sub-system level. In addition, discernible variations of both the magnitude and direction of weather's effect were found at the sub-system level. Developing a more geographically detailed understanding of the effect of weather on public transport services serves as a critical first step towards establishing a more weather-resilient public transport system. This new understanding has the potential to contribute to an evidence base that can be used to proactively adjust public transport services in response to changes in weather conditions across different parts of the network. Further research is needed to assess how transferable our findings are to other public transport and climatic contexts.

The article can be read here