How tube strikes affect macroscopic and link travel times in London

Tsapakis I. , Heydecker B. G. , Cheng T., Anbaroglu B.

TRANSPORTATION PLANNING AND TECHNOLOGY, vol.36, no.1, pp.109-129, 2013 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/03081060.2012.745766
  • Page Numbers: pp.109-129


The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of the five strikes on the London Underground (metro) rail system, which occurred in 2009 and 2010, on macroscopic and road link travel times. A consequence of these strikes was an increase in road traffic flows above usual levels. This provides an opportunity to observe the operation of the road network under unusually high flows. The first objective involves the examination of strike effects on inbound (IT) and outbound traffic (OT) within central, inner and outer London. Travel time data obtained from automatic number plate recognition cameras are used within the first part of the analysis. The second more detailed objective was to investigate in spatio-temporal effects on travel times on five road links. Correlation analyses and general linear models are developed using both traffic flow and travel time data. According to the results of the study, the morning IT had approximately twice as much delay as the OT. Central London experienced the highest delays, followed by inner and outer London. As would be expected, the unique full-day strike in 2009 yielded the worst impact on the network with the highest percentage increase in total travel time (60%) occurring during the morning peak in the IT in inner London. The results from the link-level analysis showed statistical significance amongst the examined links indicating heterogeneous effects from one link to another. It was also found that travel time changes may be more effectively captured through time-of-day terms compared to hourly traffic flows.