Exploring metro vibrancy and its relationship with built environment: a cross-city comparison using multi-source urban data

Wei Tu, Tingting Zhu, Chen Zhong, Xiaohu Zhang, Yang Xu, Qingquan Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Recent urban transformations have led to critical reflections on the blighted urban infrastructures and called for re-stimulating vital urban places. Especially, the metro has been recognized as the backbone infrastructure for urban mobility and the associated economy agglomeration. To date, limited research has been devoted to investigating the relationship between metro vitality and built environment in mega-cities empirically. This paper presents a multisource urban data-driven approach to quantify the metro vibrancy and its association with the underlying built environment. Massive smart card data is processed to extract metro ridership, which denotes the vibrancy around the metro station in physical space. Social media check-ins are crawled to measure the vitality of metros in virtual spaces. Both physical and virtual vibrancy are integrated into a holistic metro vibrancy metric using an entropy-based weighting method. Certain built environment characteristics, including land use, transportation and buildings are modeled as independent variables. The significant influences of built environmental factors on the metro vibrancy are unraveled using the ordinary least square regression and the spatial lag model. With experiments conducted in Shenzhen, Singapore and London, this study comes up with a conclusion that spatial distributions of metro vibrancy metrics in three cities are spatially autocorrelated. The regression analysis suggests that in all the three cities, more affluent urban areas tend to have higher metro virbrancy, while the road density, land use and buildings tend to impact metro vibrancy in only one or two cities. These results demonstrate the relationship between the metro vibrancy and built environment is affected by complex urban contexts. These findings help us to understand metro vibrancy thus make proper policy to re-stimulate the important metro infrastructure in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGeo-Spatial Information Science
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • smart card data
  • social media
  • spatial lag model
  • spatial-autocorrelation
  • Urban vibrancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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