Development of Measurement System for Public Transport Performance

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

organisation - performance, operations - performance, organisation - privatisation, place - europe


measuring performance, public transit, level of service (LOS) standards, Europe


Accurate measurement systems of performance are important for all businesses, including public transport. The importance of such systems will grow with the advent of liberalization in the European transportation sector (i.e., the opening of transit service provision for tendering), as service provision contracts will require agreed-on measures for performance and service. This paper describes research on developing a public transport level-of-service (LOS) standards framework for Switzerland. The standards framework is intended to reflect influences on capacity and operational quality in urban road-based transit and relies on four main measures: speeds, passenger loads, on-time performance, and headway adherence. This paper outlines the selection of specific measures for evaluating public transport LOS and the proposed framework. The framework provides a consistent method for evaluating public transport LOS on all levels of analysis, from single elements (e.g., bus stops) to networkwide analysis. The paper also describes how information from automated onboard data collection systems can be used for detailed service analysis. This calibration procedure is illustrated in an example from the Zurich public transport system. Challenges faced (especially with respect to the selection and filtering of relevant data) and future development of the approach are described. While the proposed LOS framework is being prepared for Switzerland, the experience and approach described should help others developing and improving performance management systems for public transport.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.