Definition and Properties of Alternative Bus Service Reliability Measures at the Stop Level

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - stop, mode - bus, operations - reliability, operations - scheduling, place - north america, ridership - perceptions


bus service reliability, service quality perceptions, bus stop, bus despatch system (BDS)


The Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (TCQSM) provides transit agencies with tools for measuring system performance at different levels of operation. Bus service reliability, one of the key performance measures, has become a major concern of both transit operators and users because it significantly affects user experience and service quality perceptions. The objective of this paper is to assess the existing reliability measures proposed by TCQSM and develop new ones at the bus stop level. The latter are not suggested as replacements for the existing measures; rather, they are complementary. Using empirical data from archived Bus Dispatch System (BDS) data in Portland, Oregon, a number of key characteristics of distributions of delay (schedule deviation) and headway deviation are identified. In addition, the proposed reliability measures at the stop level are capable of differentiating between the costs of being early versus late. The results of this study can be implemented in transit operations for use in improving schedules and operations strategies. Also, transit agencies can use the proposed reliability measures to evaluate and prioritize stops for operational improvement purposes.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by the Journal of Public Transportation, copyright remains with them.