Optimizing public transit quality and system access: the multiple-route, maximal covering/shortest-path problem

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - bus, planning - route design, planning - service quality


public transit useage, urban sustainability, service stops, service level


Public transit service is a promising travel mode because of its potential to address urban sustainability. However, current ridership of public transit is very low in most urban regions -- particularly those in the United States. Low transit ridership can be attributed to many factors, among which poor service quality is key. Transit service quality may potentially be improved by decreasing the number of service stops, but this would be likely to reduce access coverage. Improving transit service quality while maintaining adequate access coverage is a challenge facing public transit agencies. In this paper we propose a multiple-route, maximal covering/shortest-path model to address the trade-off between public transit service quality and access coverage in an established bus-based transit system. The model is applied to routes in Columbus, Ohio. Results show that it is possible to improve transit service quality by eliminating redundant or underutilized service stops.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design, copyright remains with them.