Modeling Bus Travel Time Reliability with Supply and Demand Data from Automatic Vehicle Location and Smart Card Systems

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, place - urban, mode - bus, technology - automatic vehicle monitoring, technology - ticketing systems, technology - passenger information, operations - reliability, operations - traffic, ridership - demand, planning - service quality


automatic vehicle location, smart card systems, travel time reliability, supply and demand


Travel time reliability is an important aspect of bus service quality. Despite a significant body of research on private vehicle reliability, little attention has been paid to bus travel time reliability at the stop-to-stop link level on different types of roads. This study aims to identify and quantify the underlying determinants of bus travel time reliability on links of different road types with the use of supply and demand data from automatic vehicle location and smart card systems collected in Brisbane, Australia. Three general bus-related models were developed with respect to the main concerns of travelers and planners: average travel time, buffer time, and coefficient of variation of travel time. Five groups of alternative models were developed to account for variations caused by different road types, including arterial road, motorway, busway, and central business district. Seemingly unrelated regression equations estimation were applied to account for cross-equation correlations across regression models in each group. Three main categories of unreliability contributory factors were identified and tested in this study, namely, planning, operational, and environmental. Model results provided insights into these factors that affect bus travel time and its variability. The most important predictors were found to be the recurrent congestion index, traffic signals, and passenger demand at stops. Results could be used to target specific strategies aimed at reducing unreliability on different types of roads.


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