Rethinking bus punctuality by integrating Automatic Vehicle Location data and passenger patterns

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, technology - automatic vehicle monitoring, technology - passenger information, operations - performance, planning - service quality, infrastructure - stop


Transit network, Punctuality measure, AVL raw data, Wealth of data, Service quality


This paper investigates punctuality at bus stops. Although it is typically evaluated from the point of view of bus operators, it must also account for users, as required in recent service quality norms. Therefore, evaluating punctuality at bus stops is highly important, but may also be a complex task, because data on both bus arrivals (or departures) and users must be taken into account and processed. Data on buses can be collected by Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) systems, but several challenges must be addressed in order to use them effectively. Passengers data at bus stops cannot be derived from AVL, but they can be used to derive passenger patterns and need to be integrated into processed AVL data. This paper proposes a new punctuality measure defined as the fraction of passengers who will be served within an acceptably short interval after they arrive. A method is proposed to determine this measure: it provides (i) several rules to handle AVL collected data, (ii) a procedure integrating processed AVL data and potential passengers’ patterns and (iii) a hierarchical process to perform the punctuality measure on each bus route direction of a transit network, as well as for every bus stop and time period. The paper illustrates the experimentation of this method on more than 4,000,000 data of a real bus operator and represents outcomes by easy-to-read control dashboards.


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


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