Optimal Routing Design for Shuttle Bus Service

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - methods, planning - route design, ridership - demand, mode - bus


Travel time, Shuttle service, Routes and routing, Passenger demand, Optimization, Optimisation, Journey time, Intracity bus transportation, Heuristic methods, Feeder services, Bus transit, Bus routes, Algorithms


A growing concern for public transit is its inability to encourage people to switch their mode of transportation from solo to shared driving. For example, most people arrive at rail stations via private cars; this creates traffic congestion and parking overloading in station areas. As a means of overcoming this problem, automated methods for designing circulated (shuttle, feeder) bus routes were developed. The problem input comprised an urban network with trip generation links and a single destination (main) node, average travel time between each link to the main node, and a constraint defining the maximal travel time along the route. The research components were threefold: (a) a method for estimating potential passenger demand for a circulated (shuttle) bus route, (b) an operations research model focusing on optimal route design, and (c) a heuristic algorithm designed to account for road networks of all sizes. The optimal model and its heuristic alternative were compared in different scenarios on a small real-life road network. It was shown that the heuristic algorithm indeed provides good (optimal in the test case) results. The heuristic procedure was also implemented with medium and large networks, generated randomly, and found to provide good results within a reasonable running time.