Ridership dynamics and characteristics of potential riders of a transit system: The SunRail of Central Florida

Mehmet Baran Ulak*, Eren Erman Ozguven, Mark W. Horner, Lindsay Weaver, Jorge Puente, Jeremy Crute, Dennis J. Smith, Michael Duncan, Elizabeth Whitton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Accessibility, livability, and public health in urban areas can be improved by promoting sustainable and eco-friendly modes of transport such as rail transit. The success and feasibility of a rail transit system, however, rely on maintaining sufficient ridership depending on several factors. This study focuses on two of these factors in examining the SunRail transit system: 1) the ridership dynamics in terms of passenger flows between transit stations, and 2) the socio-demographic characteristics of the population living around and travelling between these stations. The SunRail system is the flagship commuter rail line of Greater Orlando, Florida, encouraging denser and more walkable development and promoting a less car-dependent multimodal transportation system. For this purpose, we utilized an instantaneous-balance Bayesian model estimating the origin–destination passenger flows and conducted a comprehensive assessment of the characteristics of residents living within each SunRail station area. The analyses help provide a more detailed understanding of the travel dynamics of SunRail riders as well as who lives and works in all 12 SunRail station areas. Consequently, the findings and insights obtained from the analyses aim to serve urban and transport planners in devising strategies to influence ridership based on the passenger flows and unique characteristics of the station areas.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100720
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • Instantaneous-balance Bayesian model
  • Origin–destination passenger flows
  • Socio-demographic factors
  • Transit ridership
  • Transit station profiling
  • UT-Gold-D


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