Cities around the world suffer from congestion due to the excessive use of private cars. This leads to numerous problems such as dangerously poor air quality, traffic accidents, and wasted time.

Congestion has even been highlighted as one of the possible factors contributing to the UK’s unusually low productivity. This has created a strong impetus to move people away from travel by private car to other modes. This project complements our work on active travel by considering the factors affecting rail ridership.

Aims and Objectives

The overarching aim of this project is to understand how to increase ridership on public transport. We begin by considering rail. We currently aim to answer two main research questions:

  1. What effect do different types of disruption have on rail ridership? Are some types of service disruption worse than others from the perspective of the passenger?
  2. How are changes in the labour market and the rise of the gig economy affecting traditional patterns of travel demand? Can flexible ticketing options benefit passengers and help address the peak-load problem?

These questions will mainly be addressed using transactional data on ticket sales as well as operational data on the performance of the railway. We will also utilise a variety of survey-based data to analyse changing working patterns in the labour market.


We are working with an industrial partner to address research questions which they have identified as important for the running of their business. Answering the questions can also lead to substantial societal benefits. Working with industry ensures that insights reached through our analysis can be directly implemented. We expect our results to lead to improved rail services.


Lead: Dr. David McArthur
Team: Dr. Jinhyun Hong


  • Industrial partner: providing data and co-producing research questions.

Latest Outputs