An activity-based approach for scheduling multimodal transit services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - scheduling, ridership - demand, ridership - behaviour, planning - route design, ridership - modelling


activity based model, scheduling/timetabling problem, transit assignment


This paper proposes a new activity-based transit assignment model for investigating the scheduling (or timetabling) problem of transit services in multi-modal transit networks. The proposed model can be used to generate the short-term and long-term timetables of multimodal transit lines for transit operations and service planning purposes. The interaction between transit timetables and passenger activity-travel scheduling behaviors is captured by the proposed model, as the activity and travel choices of transit passengers are considered explicitly in terms of departure time choice, activity/trip chain choices, activity duration choice, transit line and mode choices. A heuristic solution algorithm which combines the Hooke–Jeeves method and an iterative supply–demand equilibrium approach is developed to solve the proposed model. Two numerical examples are presented to illustrate the differences between the activity-based approach and the traditional trip-based method, together with comparison on the effects of optimal timetables with even and uneven headways. It is shown that the passenger travel scheduling pattern derived from the activity-based approach is significantly different from that obtained by the trip-based method, and that a demand-sensitive (with uneven headway) timetable is more efficient than an even-headway timetable.


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