PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (6): 967-979.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.06.007

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Nonlinear effects of bus micro-environments on passengers’ comfort

ZHANG Lin1(), ZHOU Suhong2,3,*(), KWAN Mei-Po4,5, CHEN Fei6   

  1. 1. Institute of Studies for the Greater Bay Area (Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau), Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou 510006, China
    2. School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
    3. Guangdong Provincial Engineering Research Center for Public Security and Disaster, Guangzhou 510275, China
    4. Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
    5. Institute of Space & Earth Information Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong 999077, China
    6. China Academy of Urban Planning & Design Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518000, Guangdong, China
  • Received:2020-08-01 Revised:2020-12-22 Online:2021-06-28 Published:2021-08-28
  • Contact: ZHOU Suhong;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41871148);National Natural Science Foundation of China(71961137003);Key-area Research and Development Program of Guangdong Province(2020B0202010002);Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation(2020A1515110623);Hong Kong Research Grants Council(14605920);Hong Kong Research Grants Council(C4023-20GF)


Buses play an important role in the daily travel of urban residents. Bus micro-environmental pollution and its adverse impacts on passengers' physical and psychological well-being has become an increasing concern among the general public, researchers, and policymakers. However, few studies have examined the nonlinear effects of bus micro-environments on passengers' comfort, analyzed the threshold values of multiple micro-environmental variables, and ascertained the optimal micro-environmental exposure levels for passengers. In this study, real-time monitoring data of bus micro-environments, questionnaire survey data of 520 passengers, travel characteristics, and environments outside the buses were simultaneously collected on six bus routes in Guangzhou City. Nonlinear regression models constructed by random forest were then employed to explore the relationships between bus micro-environments and passengers' comfort. The results show that in-bus temperature, relative humidity, PM2.5 concentrations, noise, and passenger load have nonlinear effects on the comfort, but the importance and mechanism of each micro-environmental variable in influencing comfort is different. Passengers have a higher degree of comfort when in-bus temperature is 23.5-28.0 ℃, relative humidity is 45%-58%, PM2.5 concentrations are lower than 28 μg/m3, noise level is lower than 75 dB, and passenger load is 8-26 persons. Also, there are some differences between the optimal micro-environmental exposure levels identified in this study and current environmental standards. These findings have theoretical and practical implications for policymakers, transportation planners, and bus operators when improving bus micro-environments and promoting passengers' comfort.

Key words: micro-space, micro-environmental exposure, comfort, nonlinear effect, random forest, buses, Guangzhou City