Practice reviews in peak period rail network managment: Sydney and San Francisco Bay Area

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - capacity, operations - crowding, land use - planning, ridership - commuting, ridership - demand, organisation - management, mode - rail, mode - mass transit


transport planning, rail demand management, peak period, crowding, mass transit capacity, Sydney, San Francisco, BART


The paper reviews current rail peak demand management approaches in Sydney and San Francisco through a practice review approach.

Sydney and the San Francisco Bay Area offer two cases in the management of rail passenger demand in peak periods and beyond. By reviewing a range of strategies in use and under consideration, a broader picture emerges of the potential options and solutions available.

In Sydney, certain lines are facing challenging peak-period scenarios, in which the rail system is severely overcrowded and perhaps unable to deliver greater capacity without major infrastructure upgrades. The paper reviews the state of practice in Sydney - tracking the peak demand problem and considering the management, pricing and communication strategies that are currently in place and emerging.

In San Francisco, similar scenarios of peak-capacity are faced, with infrastructure bottlenecks at critical locations and potential operational constraints on the horizon in a region with a growing population.

From these case study examples, suggestions are drawn for a suite of strategy options to assist transport agencies and rail operators to address peak demand issues through a managed and structured approach.