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Open AccessArticle

Belgium through the Lens of Rail Travel Requests: Does Geography Still Matter?

Center for Operations Research and Econometrics, Université catholique de Louvain, Voie du Roman Pays 34, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
Poppy, rue Van Bortonne 7, 1090 Bruxelles, Belgium
F.N.R.S. (Fond National de la Recherche Scientifique), Rue d’Egmont 5, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Bin Jiang, Constantinos Antoniou and Wolfgang Kainz
ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5(11), 216;
Received: 14 September 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geospatial Big Data and Transport)
PDF [3705 KB, uploaded 15 November 2016]


This paper uses on-line railway travel requests from the iRail schedule-finder application for assessing the suitability of that kind of big data for transportation planning and to examine the temporal and regional variations of the travel demand by train in Belgium. Travel requests are collected over a two-month period and consist of origin-destination flows between stations operated by the Belgian national railway company in 2016. The Louvain method is applied to detect communities of tightly-connected stations. Results show the influence of both the urban and network structures on the spatial organization of the clusters. We also further discuss the implications of the observed temporal and regional variations of these clusters for transportation travel demand and planning. View Full-Text
Keywords: big data; railway transport; Belgium; Louvain method big data; railway transport; Belgium; Louvain method

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Jones, J.; Cloquet, C.; Adam, A.; Decuyper, A.; Thomas, I. Belgium through the Lens of Rail Travel Requests: Does Geography Still Matter? ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2016, 5, 216.

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