Analyzing Transit Service Reliability Using Detailed Data From Automatic Vehicular Locator Systems

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - performance, operations - reliability


Reliability, AVL, APC


The widespread adoption of automated vehicle location systems (AVL) and automatic passenger counters (APC) in the transit industry has opened new venues in operations and system monitoring. In 2005, Metro Transit, Minnesota, implemented AVL system and partially implemented APC technologies. To date there has been little effort to employ the collected data in evaluating transit performance. This research uses such data to assess performance issues along a cross-town route in the Metro Transit system. We generate a series of visual and analytical analyses to predict run time, schedule adherence and reliability of the transit route at two scales: the time point segment and the route level to demonstrate ways of identifying causes of decline in reliability levels. The analytical models show that while headways are maintained, schedule revisions are needed to improve run time and schedule adherence. Finally, the analysis suggests that many scheduled stops along this route are underutilized and recommends stop consolidation as a tool to decrease variability of service through concentrating passenger demand along a fewer number of stops.


Article submitted by author. Permission to publish abstract has been given.