Transfer Scheduling and Control to Reduce Passenger Waiting Time

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - scheduling, infrastructure - vehicle, infrastructure - interchange/transfer, mode - bus


Waiting time, Vehicle holding time, Transfers, Schedules and scheduling, On time performance, Mathematical models, Bus transit operations, Buffer time, Arrivals and departures


Transfers cost effort and take time. They reduce the attractiveness and the competitiveness of public transportation. The impedance of transferring should be limited, especially when low-frequency routes are involved. First, this paper shows the effects of planning the offset between the timetable arrival time of the feeder line and the timetable departure time of the connecting line on the transfer waiting time. An optimized buffer time reduces the probability of missing the connection to the point at which a further reduction would cause a still greater disbenefit by making passengers who make their connection wait longer. Second, the paper shows the effects of punctuality control on the routes on the transfer waiting time. If general operational control can reduce the punctuality standard deviations of arrivals and departures, it increases the reliability of the transfer. Third, the paper shows the effects of departure control at the interchange on the transfer waiting time. Holding connecting vehicles prevents missed connections because of early departures and holding just until the connection is made prevents unnecessary delays after passengers have transferred. Example results are derived by the use of a mathematical model.