Time of day intervals partition for bus schedule using GPS data

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, mode - bus, technology - geographic information systems, planning - service level, ridership - demand, operations - performance, operations - scheduling


Bus schedule, Time-of-day intervals, Partition algorithm, Historic GPS data


Time of day partition of bus operating hours is a prerequisite of bus schedule design. Reasonable partition plan is essential to improve the punctuality and level of service. In most mega cities, bus vehicles have been equipped with global positioning system (GPS) devices, which is convenient for transit agency to monitor bus operations. In this paper, a new algorithm is developed based on GPS data to partition bus operating hours into time of day intervals. Firstly, the impacts of passenger demand and network traffic state on bus operational performance are analyzed. Then bus dwell time at stops and inter-stop travel time, which can be attained based on GPS data, are selected as partition indexes. For buses clustered in the same time-of-day interval, threshold values of differences in dwell time at stops and inter-stop travel time are determined. The buses in the same time-of-day interval should have adjacent dispatching numbers, which is set as a constraint. Consequently, a partition algorithm with three steps is developed. Finally, a bus route in Suzhou China is taken as an example to validate the algorithm. Three partition schemes are given by setting different threshold values for the two partition indexes. The present scheme in practice is compared with the three proposed schemes. To balance the number of ToD intervals and partition precision, a Benefit Evaluation Index is proposed, for a better time-of-day interval plan.


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


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