Sustainable Demand Responsive Transportation systems in a context of austerity: The case of a Portuguese city

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, mode - demand responsive transit, mode - bus, mode - mass transit, policy - sustainable, policy - social exclusion, policy - equity


General welfare, Simulation modeling, Optimization, Heuristics, Vehicle Routing, Mass transit


In a time of economic austerity, more pressure is being put on the existing transport systems to be more sustainable and, at the same time, more equitable and socially inclusive. Regular public road transportation traditionally uses fixed routes and schedules, which can be extremely expensive in rural areas and certain periods of the day in urban areas due to low and unpredictable demand. Demand Responsive Transportation systems are a kind of hybrid transportation approach between a taxi and a bus that try to address these problems with routes and frequencies that may vary according to the actual observed demand. Demand Responsive Transportation seems to have potential to answer the sustainability and social inclusion challenges in a context of austerity. However, DRT projects may fail: it is not only important to solve the underlying model in an efficient way, but also to understand how different ways of operating the service affect customers and operators. To help design DRT services, we developed an innovative approach integrating simulation and optimization. Using this simulator, we compared a real night-time bus service in the city of Porto, Portugal, with a hypothetical flexible DRT service for the same scenario.


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


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