On the evaluation of a public transportation network quality: Criteria validation methodology

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, planning - service improvement, planning - service quality


Origin–destination matrix, Transportation network quality evaluation, Computational analysis


A public transportation network serves in adequate way a population if it evolves in time following the existent social reality. Changes made in order to improve service must be analyzed and evaluated. The introduction of modern technology to validate the fare card allowed a quick access to important, although incomplete, data. Databases with only the getting in validation information can be used to construct an origin–destination (OD) matrix, allowing a service quality analysis. Here it is presented a basic methodology to rigorously validate service quality criteria considering what might be interesting for the user. The quality analysis philosophy is the following. First, based on automatically gathered data, one reconstructs the origin–destination (OD) matrix, which contains information concerning the number of passengers traveling between zones of a certain region. The OD matrix is used to calculate some criteria characterizing the transportation network quality, such as traveling times, waiting times at a stop or transport occupation. The reconstructed OD matrix always contains errors, which cause errors in the criteria values. How significant are these errors? This question can be answered using our criteria validating methodology, which is based on statistical analysis. It has been implemented at the urban bus transport system of Porto, STCP, allowing the evaluation of the transportation network quality under a number of criteria and guaranteeing rigorous results.


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


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