A survey on planning semi-flexible transit systems: Methodological issues and a unifying framework

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Public transit, Demand-responsive systems, Dial-a-ride, Demand-adaptive systems, Planning, General modeling framework, Literature review


When demand for transportation is low or sparse, traditional transit cannot provide efficient and good-quality service, due to its fixed structure. New transportation alternatives are therefore increasingly proposed, combining on-demand service adjustment capabilities to the regular route and schedule characteristics of traditional transit. Such so-called semi-flexible systems require careful planning, but no formalization of the corresponding decisions problems, nor any comprehensive methodology has been proposed yet. This paper aims at contributing to fill this gap by presenting a comprehensive literature review, and a general and unifying modeling framework for representing and planning semi-flexible systems. The latter takes the form of the Demand Adaptive Systems, which generalizes the semi-flexible systems described in the literature, and also offers a number of advanced features, the scheduling mechanism, in particular. The paper then provides a classification of planning decisions, which is used to structure a comprehensive and comparative literature review of the field of semi-flexible systems, including methodological contributions as well as a number of particularly significant practical experiences.


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


Transportation Research Part C Home Page: