The value of service reliability

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, operations - frequency, operations - reliability


Public transportation, Reliability, Headway, Scheduling; Welfare


This paper studies the impact of service frequency and reliability on the choice of departure time and the travel cost of transit users. When the user has (α, β, γ) scheduling preferences, we show that the optimal head start decreases with service reliability, as expected. It does not necessarily decrease with service frequency, however. We derive the value of service headway (VoSH) and the value of service reliability (VoSR), which measure the marginal effect on the expected travel cost of a change in the mean and in the standard deviation of headways, respectively. The VoSH and the VoSR complete the value of time and the value of reliability for the economic appraisal of public transit projects by capturing the specific link between headways, waiting times, and congestion. An empirical illustration is provided, which considers two mass transit lines located in the Paris area.


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


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