Public transport networks


In our research project we aim to collect public transport timetable data around the world, curate the data, and publish it in a variety of formats available to be used for both transit planners as well as network scientists.

Given a collection of data on public transport networks, we then investigate their operation scientifically using tools from networks science.
Our interest in the analysis of public transport networks arise especially from the following:

1. … are networks:
Public transport networks can be modeled as networks of stops connected by bus-lines, trams, trains and other vehicles.
2. .. have multiple layers:
Typically public transport networks consist of different transport modes (buses, trams, trains, … ), and thus they can also be modeled using the tools of multi-layer networks.
3. … vary in time:
No connection between bus-stops is constantly available, but connections take place only at certain times, and it also takes some time to travel through any link in the network. These facts open up questions on synchronization and optimization of such systems.
4. … are embedded in space!
The fact that that PTNs are embedded in space, it is essential to take spatial, and geographical aspects into consideration.
Questions such as “How does geography affect the structure of public transport networks?” then arise naturally.

Background map: ©OpenStreetMap contributors, ©CartoDB

Helsinki’s public transport routes coloured individually. Background map: ©OpenStreetMap contributors, ©CartoDB

Academy Project

The research project is supported by the Academy of Finland funded project “Decoding Urban Public Transport Networks” (DeCoNet in short) aims for studying the above mentioned properties of public transport networks across the globe.
The DeCoNet project is carried out together with the Aalto University’s Department of Built Environment.


Check out for our public transport data repository, and visualization tool for analyzing public transport networks using public transport schedule data.


Prof. Jari Saramäki
Richard Darst (Ph.D)
Rainer Kujala (Doctoral candidate)
Prof. Milos Mladenovic (Dept. of Built Environment)
Christoffer Weckström (Doctoral candidate at Dept. of Built Environment)

Student projects

If you are a student and interested working on public transportation, please contact Rainer Kujala for more information.