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60016-1 Report Abstract

Design Methodology for Bus Transit Networks with Coordinated Operations

Mao-Chang Shih and Hani S. Mahmassani, University of Texas at Austin, August 1994, 197 pp.

A major goal of transportation planning activities targeted at reducing total automotive fuel consumption has been to attract tripmakers to use public transit to meet more of their travel and mobility needs. Bus transit networks in the U.S. have traditionally been geared to serve centralized core-area land use patterns, at the same time that these cities have become increasingly decentralized. Because of lower suburban and exurban densities, it has been difficult to provide levels of transit service that provide a meaningful alternative to the private automobile. However, increasing densification of the suburbs and the emergence of major activity nuclei outside the CBD opens opportunities for creative approaches to the supply of transit services.

The aim of this project is to develop and test computer-based design procedures for the configuration of bus route networks in areas characterized by suburban spatial patterns, so as to maximize ridership and capture and serve mobility needs in a cost-effective and energy efficient manner. The methodology incorporates three service dimensions that have heretofore been left out of the systematic design procedures: route coordination, variable vehicle size and demand-responsive service. All three dimensions are particularly important in the design of transit service networks for areas encompassing significant suburban and exurban spatial development patterns.

The solution approach consists of four components. A route generation procedure constructs sets of bus routes corresponding to different service concepts and trade-offs between users and operators. A network evaluation procedure determines route frequencies and vehicle sizes and computes a variety of system performance measures reflecting user and operator costs. A transit center selection procedure identifies the set of transit centers to support the implementation of times-transfer design and demand responsive service. A network improvement procedure applies modifications to the set of routes generated by the route generation procedure to improve performance in terms of the user’s and operator’s perspectives. The solution approach is tested with a benchmark problem and with data generated from the transit system of Austin, Texas.

Keywords: Transit Network Design, Suburban Mobility

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Reference Report #60016-1