Integrating bus services with mixed fleets

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - capital costs, economics - operating costs, mode - bus, operations - scheduling


Public transportation, Conventional bus, Flexible bus, Genetic algorithm, Analytic optimization, Hybrid approach


Conventional bus service (with fixed routes and schedules) has lower average cost than flexible bus service (with demand-responsive routes) at high demand densities. At low demand densities flexible bus service has lower average costs and provides convenient door-to-door service. Bus size and operation type are related since larger buses have lower average cost per passenger at higher demand densities. The operation type and other decisions are jointly optimized here for a bus transit system connecting a major terminal to local regions. Conventional and flexible bus sizes, conventional bus route spacings, areas of service zones for flexible buses, headways, and fleet sizes are jointly optimized in multi-dimensional nonlinear mixed integer optimization problems. To solve them, we propose a hybrid approach, which combines analytic optimization with a Genetic Algorithm. Numerical analysis confirms that the proposed method provides near-optimal solutions and shows how the proposed Mixed Fleet Variable Type Bus Operation (MFV) can reduce total cost compared to alternative operations such as Single Fleet Conventional Bus (SFC), Single Fleet Flexible Bus (SFF), Mixed Fleet Conventional Bus (MFC) and Mixed Fleet Flexible Bus (MFF). With consistent system-wide bus sizes, capital costs are reduced by sharing fleets over times and over regions. The sensitivity of results to several important parameters is also explored.


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


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