Bus design guidelines: Complementing planning with vehicle design

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, land use - planning, mode - bus


bus, design, service, planning, passenger


This research creates a set of design guidelines for route bus vehicles. Transport planning views the bus vehicle as a known-quantity. Aside from a few attributes such as vehicle length and passenger capacity there is little discussion of how bus vehicle design affects public transport performance. Direct results from the literature review method indicate bus transport is a sum of service elements; the utility of the journey, the intangibles such as route design, and the tangibles such as the bus vehicle.

In comparing overall bus ‘service’ to existing theory on quality, services and motivation, the research adds currency to conventionally avoided ‘soft’ transport factors. The results describe the application of qualitative factors outside of – but complementary to – transport planning and policy. The literature review identifies that in addition to complementing system needs, bus vehicles must offer passengers a safe, comfortable, enjoyable transport experience, and desirable status and image in order to be conducive to ridership. This research concludes that route bus functions are spread across hard and soft factors, and that the two are not inseparable in the aspiration to provide successful public transport.