Title

USING GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS TO INFORM BUS MAINTENANCE BASE LOCATION DECISIONS: SKETCH-LEVEL METHODOLOGY FOR ESTIMATING BUS DEADHEAD COSTS

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

2004

Subject Area

planning - signage/information, land use - planning, organisation - structures, technology - geographic information systems, mode - bus

Keywords

Vancouver (Canada), TransLink (Program : British Columbia), Sketch planning, Site selection, Shortest path algorithms, Placement (Location), Maintenance structures, Maintenance facilities, Location, Locating, GIS, Geographic information systems, Geocoding, Decision making, Deadheading, Cost estimating

Abstract

In making a decision to redesign a cramped or inefficient maintenance facility within a built urban environment, the cost of relocation must consider the change in operating costs due to rerouting transit routes and potentially changed deadhead costs (i.e., those costs associated with the trip a bus vehicle takes between the maintenance base and the start or end of a route). A sketch-level method for estimating bus deadhead costs that can serve as an input to high-level decision-making processes is described. In a recent analysis for TransLink in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, this methodology helped to quantify the total net change in deadhead costs associated with various location options. A geographic information systems (GIS) tool was used to calculate the shortest path among alternative maintenance base locations and start and end points of bus routes. Shortest-path calculations were based on estimated travel speeds, congestion, and known geographic constraints provided by the operator. Total deadhead-related costs were then estimated for each of the three maintenance base location options under consideration. The difference between these costs served as one component in the decision-making process, along with other factors such as property acquisition and construction cost. This analysis serves as an example of how GIS use can provide a low-cost sketch-planning tool to inform investment decisions.