Hybrid Method for Bus Network Design with High Seasonal Demand Variation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, operations - frequency, place - asia, planning - network design, planning - route design, ridership - demand


Bus network design, Multiple-demand scenarios, Passenger demand, Bus routes, Seasonal demand variation


Seasonal demand variation is a somewhat neglected aspect of transit demand. Many cities worldwide experience seasonal variation of passenger demand that deserves not only changes of service frequency, but also and often more importantly, changes in the transit network of routes. Literature dealing with optimal bus networks shows that it is an non polynomial (NP)-hard complexity problem with the demand being the most important variable affecting the network. Thus, the bus network of concern should be robust from the optimization perspective when a new demand arises. This paper introduces a model and a solution algorithm to take into account the variation of passenger demand in the design of bus networks. The solution algorithm developed is a hybrid method that optimizes the design of a bus network at the route and network levels. The model was applied to the city of Mashhad in Iran with a population of over 3.2 million and 20 million visitors annually. The results are promising and demonstrate how to determine the best single network of bus routes to suit variable passenger demand.