Analysis of the Impacts of Passenger Demand on the Profitability of Different Types of Urban Rail Transit

  • Qi Zhou Key Laboratory of Transport Industry of Big Data, Application Technologies for Comprehensive Transport, Beijing Jiaotong University
  • Baohua Mao Key Laboratory of Transport Industry of Big Data, Application Technologies for Comprehensive Transport, Beijing Jiaotong University
  • Sairong Peng Key Laboratory of Transport Industry of Big Data, Application Technologies for Comprehensive Transport, Beijing Jiaotong University
  • Junsheng Huang Key Laboratory of Transport Industry of Big Data, Application Technologies for Comprehensive Transport, Beijing Jiaotong University
  • Peining Tian Key Laboratory of Transport Industry of Big Data, Application Technologies for Comprehensive Transport, Beijing Jiaotong University
Keywords: urban rail transit, profitability, light rail transit, passenger demand, spatial characteristic


With the rapid development of urban rail transit (URT) in China, the contradiction between high cost and low passenger demand becomes prominent. To fully analyse the impacts of passenger demand on the profitability of URT can be difficult, due to the multifaceted impact of passenger demand with multidimensional characteristics. To this end, we propose a strategy that helps to analyse the profitability of URT with different types, in consideration of the spatial and temporal characteristics of demand. Based on the data of the SD district in China, the profitability of metro, light rail transit (LRT), monorail, and tram was evaluated. Results show the profitability under different demand levels. Tram might be the best choice at low demand levels. At medium demand levels, LRT and monorail are competitive. At high demand levels, LRT with medium to high capacity and low cost is also a good alternative while metro with higher capacity. Utilizing the URT with high capacity under insufficient demand can aggravate the burden of the depreciation, and make it hard to achieve profit. The spatial characteristics of the demand described in this paper reflect the problem of insufficient demand in marginal areas due to the diversified construction of URT.


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How to Cite
Zhou Q, Mao B, Peng S, Huang J, Tian P. Analysis of the Impacts of Passenger Demand on the Profitability of Different Types of Urban Rail Transit . Promet [Internet]. 2023Feb.13 [cited 2024Apr.14];35(1):71-6. Available from: