Understanding human mobility, ridership and spatial inequity using travel smart card data

Institute for Transport Studies research seminar with speaker Yan Liu, Associate Professor in Geographical Information Sciences, University of Queensland.

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Public transport has been increasingly recognised as a crucial component of a sustainable and functional city to improve urban accessibility, quality of life and environmental quality. However, the use of public transport in Australia remains small comparing to car use. This is in part due to the low density urban development and dispersed urban structure which result in significant variation in access to public transport services and the associated inequalities across urban areas and for disadvantaged groups.

This seminar presents an evaluation of a system-wide public transport fare policy reform and how it has affected commuter travel behaviours and ridership based on data from travel smart cards in use in Southeast Queensland (SEQ), Australia. Spatial inequities of all population and by different population sub-groups are assessed and how these impact on ridership and human mobility are also evaluated through a like-for-like comparison and using Lorenz Curve and Gini-Index measures. By developing an equity monitoring dashboard, our work demonstrates a generic framework that can be used to model and assess potential impact of any policy change on ridership and equities at different spatial and vertical scales. 


Yan Liu is an Associate Professor in Geographical Information Sciences at the University of Queensland. She runs the Spatio-Temporal Analytics Research Laboratory (STAR Lab). Yan’s research focuses on GIS, spatial analysis and modelling. She develops and applies cellular automata and agent based models to describe, understand, simulate and predict urban and human change dynamics and processes.

She also develops spatially integrated analytical and modelling approaches for applications in social geographic research including spatial accessibility modelling, spatial inequality in health and wellbeing, neighbour relations, spatial travel behaviours, participatory GIS, and spatial science education. She is the co-editor of the Journal of Spatial Science and the Editorial Board member of Environment and Planning B: Urban Analytics and City Science. She is also an Affiliate Academic at the Institute for Social Science Research of the University of Queensland. Her research is supported by the Australia Research Council (ARC) and other funding sources. 

Institute for Transport Studies research seminar series

Our seminar series is for anyone interested in the latest transport research. Presented by members of the Institute and guest speakers, the programme is designed to stimulate cross-disciplinary conversations across a range of transport and mobility research areas. The short seminars will be followed by a discussion. The remainder of the session will be a chance to meet up and network. No booking required.