Assessing the Level of Accessibility of Railway Public Transport for Women Passengers Using Location-Based Data

Assessing the Level of Accessibility of Railway Public Transport for Women Passengers Using Location-Based Data

Within the objectives of the H2020 DIAMOND project, the Use Case ‘Public Transport Infrastructures – Railway’ is focused on the investigation of women’s needs as users of metro and urban railway public transports. This is aimed at supporting the development of gender-equitable transport planning policies and at increasing the percentage of women using public transport services.

In this context, Systematica carried out extensive research based on GIS-Geographic Information Systems for the analysis of structured open data. This was aimed at identifying a short list of relevant metro and urban railway stations managed by Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC) – the Railway Agency in Catalunya in the Province of Barcelona (Spain).

Example of spatial distribution of urban fabric on the territory of the Province of Barcelona.

A series of open geospatial datasets were selected, sorted and filtered through combining several indicators related to different attributes and characteristics of the land, socio-demographics and mobility of the urban area surrounding each station. To do so, raw data related to the urban scale were extracted in surrounding areas around each station within a catchment area of 400 meter, commonly known to a comfortable walkable distance.

Examples of datasets extraction on catchment areas surrounding each station.

Data were post-processed through density-based calculation of buffer areas, normalization of values and weighted summations. This allowed the identification of a short list of positively and negatively relevant stations based on the level of accessibility for women. The selection was finalized through the analysis of travel demand data provided by FGC, focused on the number of passengers per station per year. Thanks to the collaboration with the Centre Tecnològic de Catalunya (Eurecat), the selected stations were further characterized through additional data collection activities based on social media (namely Twitter) and focused on the opinion of the end-users about the service.

Selected FGC stations and correlation between open data and travel demand data.

The results of this research activity has been published in: Gorrini, A., Choubassi, R., Rezaallah, A., Presicce, D., Boratto, L., Laniado, D., Aragón, P. (2021). Assessing the Level of Accessibility of Railway Public Transport for Women Passengers Using Location-Based Data: The Case of H2020 DIAMOND Project. In: Bisello A., Vettorato D., Haarstad H., Borsboom-van Beurden J. (eds). Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions. SSPCR 2019. Green Energy and Technology. Springer, Cham.


The chapter presents a data-driven approach based on the use of Geographic Information Systems and data analytics for assessing the level of accessibility for the women passengers of the railway network service managed by FGC—the Railway Agency in Catalunya (Spain). A series of geolocated open and proprietary datasets related to the land and sociodemographic and mobility characteristics of the Province of Barcelona and to the FGC’s railway network has been analyzed and merged with disaggregated social-media data collected from Twitter. This was aimed at maximizing the diversity of station samples that will be observed, in order to ensure that the observed cases are representative of the different situations and locations of any single station. The selected stations are currently under investigation through on-site observations about universal design indicators and survey questionnaires focused on women passengers’ needs and expectations. Within the objectives of the H2020 project DIAMOND, the final aim of the proposed research is to support the definition of guidelines and policies for the inclusion of women’s needs in the design of future urban transport services.

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