Public-transit frequency setting using minimum-cost approach with stochastic demand and travel time

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - frequency, technology - automatic vehicle monitoring, operations - scheduling, economics - appraisal/evaluation, mode - bus


Public-transit, Frequency setting, Optimization


Common practice in public-transit planning is to determine the frequency of service based on accumulated hourly passenger counts, average travel time, given vehicle capacity, and the standard of minimum frequency by time of day. With the increased usage of automatic vehicle location (AVL) and automatic passenger counting (APC) systems, it is possible to construct the statistical distributions of passenger demand and travel time by time of day. This can give rise to improve the accuracy of the frequencies determined. This study presents a new approach of frequency setting by enabling the use of stochastic properties of the collected data and its associated costs within a supply chain optimization model. An optimization framework is constructed based on two main cost elements: (a) empty-seat driven (unproductive cost) and (b) overload and un-served demand (increased user cost). The objective function is to minimize the total cost incurred with decision variables of either frequency or vehicle capacity (vehicle size). That is, from the operator perspective it is desirable to utilize efficiently the fleet of vehicles which is related to the decisions of the vehicle size. From the authority perspective, the concern is to provide an adequate level of service in terms of frequency. The study contains sensitivity analysis of the cost elements involved for economic evaluation.


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


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