Understanding Platform Overcrowding at Bus Rapid Transit Stations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus rapid transit, mode - pedestrian, place - south america, infrastructure - station, planning - service level, ridership - modelling


bus rapid transit (BRT), platform overcrowding, station layouts, passenger volumes, pedestrian density


Platform overcrowding is a very common but relatively poorly understood occurrence at most bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in cities in the developing world. Most literature on BRT capacity focuses on vehicle throughput for different types of lane and station configurations; relatively little is known about how different station layouts handle specific volumes of boarding and alighting passengers. In this paper, this gap in knowledge was addressed by building a microscopic simulation model to test the ability of a typical Latin American BRT station (median, high-platform, one bus bay per direction) to handle various volumes of passengers under different scenarios. With this modeling exercise, areas in a station most likely to experience overcrowding were first identified: the median refuge island at the main entrance and the turnstiles. The station performance at those critical points was then evaluated for different passenger volumes, with mainly pedestrian density (persons/m2) as an indicator. Results indicated a pedestrian capacity range for a typical BRT station and also quantified the effect of friction between pedestrians entering and leaving the station. Finally, a regression based on the simulation results was estimated and used to develop a predictive equation for crowding as a function of passenger volumes and direction. The results can help BRT planners better adapt their station designs to forecast passenger volumes and ensure that they provide an adequate level of service


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.