Transit-network design methodology for actual-size road networks

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - rail, operations - frequency, operations - scheduling, place - north america, planning - network design, planning - route design


Public transportation, Transit-network design, Newton gravity, Routes hierarchy, Rail system


The main purpose of this study is to design a transit network of routes for handling actual-size road networks. This transit-network design problem is known to be complex and cumbersome. Thus, a heuristic methodology is proposed, taking into account the major concerns of transit authorities such as budget constraints, level-of-service standards and the attractiveness of the transit routes. In addition, this approach considers other important aspects of the problem including categorization of stops, multiclass of transit vehicles, hierarchy planning, system capacity (which has been largely ignored in past studies) and the integration between route-design and frequency-setting analyses. The process developed starts with the construction of a set of potential stops using a clustering concept. Then, by the use of Newton gravity theory and a special shortest-path procedure, a set of candidate routes is formed, categorized by hierarchy (mass, feeder, local routes). In the last step of the process a metaheuristic search engine is launched over the candidate routes, incorporating budgetary constraints, until a good solution is found. The algorithm was tested on the actual-size transit network of the city of Winnipeg; the results show that under the same conditions (budget and constraints) the proposed set of routes resulted in a reduction of 14% of total travel time compared to the existing transit network. In addition the methodology developed is compared favorably with other studies using the transit network of Mandl benchmark. The generality of the methodology was tested on the recent real dataset (pertaining to the year 2010) of the larger city of Chicago, in which a more efficient and optimized scheme was proposed for the existing rail system.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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