Estimation of travel time and the benefits of upgrading the fare payment technology in urban bus services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - australasia, infrastructure - busway, operations - performance, operations - reliability, economics - appraisal/evaluation


Bus, Travel time estimation, Operating speed, Commercial speed, Fare payment system, Time saving


Multiple regression models are estimated to analyse bus travel times in an urban network. We identify variables that have a significant influence on the variation of bus travel time, and estimate the percentage of time that buses take at each stage of a trip (i.e., non-stop running time, delay due to traffic lights, delay due to roundabouts and time lost at bus stops), which is useful to categorise the sources of delay along a route. By using estimates of passenger boarding times with alternative fare payment methods (cash, magnetic strip, contactless card and off-board payment), we calculate operational speed and benefits of upgrading the fare payment technology, including savings on fleet size requirements, fuel and labour cost, travel time for users and air pollution. A comparative assessment of speed gains with two policies aimed at reducing bus travel times – providing dedicated busways and upgrading the fare collection system – shows that the number of passengers is crucial in determining the advantage of one or the other in increasing bus operating speed.


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


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