A measure of equity for public transit connectivity

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

policy - equity, operations - frequency, operations - capacity, operations - scheduling, planning - route design, place - north america


Transit equity, Graph theory, Capacity, Frequency, Multi-modal transit


An equitable transit system can cater to the needs of captive riders and maximize transit service coverage. Historically transit equity has not considered in planning or has been an afterthought in the process; leading to the underutilization of transit and encouraging travelers to be auto dependent. In this paper, the authors propose a methodology to estimate transit equity using a number of attributes such as frequency, speed, capacity, and built environment in a multi-modal transit network. We propose a methodology to measure transit equity from a graph theoretical approach for all levels of transit service coverage integrating routes, schedules, socio-economic, demographic and spatial activity patterns.

The objective of using equity is to quantify and evaluate transit service in terms of prioritizing transit locations for funding; conforming with federal regulations; providing service delivery strategies, especially for areas with large multi-jurisdictional, multi-modal transit networks; providing an indicator of multi-level transit capacity for planning purposes and assessing the effectiveness and efficiency for node/stop prioritization while choosing transit as a mode of travel. The methodology uses a stylized connectivity measure with a Gini index for equity estimation at different levels such as stop, line, zone and area. An example problem is presented to demonstrate the proposed methodology. The approach is then applied to the Washington–Baltimore region in the United States. The results show the existing transit service coverage at different locations. The proposed approach can be utilized as a tool for transit service planning.


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


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