Combining Multimodal Smart Card Data

Combining Multimodal Smart Card Data


Sandra Nijenstein, NS, Bas Bussink, HTM


HTM and NS have combined Smartcard data in order to analyse multimodal public transport trips. With these insights the public transport can be adjusted to the needs of the traveler.


The customer journey of a public transport traveler is made from door to door and not from station to station or from stop to stop. In public transport often multiple modes are needed within a trip to arrive at destination. Almost always, the traveler should walk, bike or take the bus, tram or subway to get to the station for a train trip. To optimize the overall journey of the public transport traveler cooperation between transport providers is needed. NS (Dutch Railways) has recently acquired a 49% interest in HTM (The Hague busses and trams) making collaboration between these parties easier. In light of this cooperation between HTM and NS a project is defined to improve the integrated multimodal public transport offer. In order to improve the public transport according to the needs of the travelers, insight of the passenger flows are needed. This insight can be obtained by combining Smartcard data. HTM and NS have therefore conducted a successful initial exploration combining and analyzing Smartcard data and examine the possibilities offered by these data.
During the project HTM and NS got insights in the do’s and don’ts of combining Smartcard data: which trips can and cannot be linked; what are the differences in use of Smartcard data in both companies; how can trips and journeys be defined; and what is needed to actually combine the data. After the data was combined, multiple analyses were conducted. The origins and destinations were visible, but also the transfers between NS and HTM were analyzed in detail. In this matter NS and HTM gained insight of passenger behavior: which route is taken, how many transfers are made and how long do passengers have to wait for connecting modes. With these results timetables and services of HTM and NS can be aligned better in order to serve the travelers better.
The pilot, conducted in 2014, showed that the combined Smartcard data offers opportunities to optimize the timetables and services. Therefore, HTM and NS are now working together to extend this way of working.


Association for European Transport