Assessment of Transit Quality of Service with Occupancy Load Factor and Passenger Travel Time Measures

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, planning - service level, planning - service quality, economics - value of time, operations - crowding, operations - capacity, ridership - commuting, ridership - perceptions, technology - ticketing systems, mode - bus


quality of service (QOS), occupancy load factor, travel time, passenger comfort, automatic fare collection data


The quality of service (QOS) and resource productivity implications of transit route passenger loading and travel time are investigated. The value of the occupancy load factor is highlighted as a direct measure of QOS measured as passenger comfort. Automatic fare collection data for a premium radial bus route in Brisbane, Australia, are used to investigate the time series correlation between the occupancy load factor and passenger average travel time. This correlation is strong across the entire span of service in both directions. Passengers tend to make longer commuter trips under significantly less comfortable conditions in the peak direction than in the off-peak direction. The Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual uses segment-based load factor to determine QOS measured as onboard loading comfort. Additional insight into QOS is provided by relating the route-based dimensions of occupancy load factor and passenger average travel time in a two-dimensional format, from the perspectives of the passenger and the operator. Future research will apply value of time to QOS measurement that will reflect perceived passenger comfort as related to crowding and average time spent onboard. Study results would assist the econometric modeling of transit service quality. The proposed method can be applied in a practical setting where automatic fare collection data are available for fixed-schedule routes. Study outcomes also provide valuable research and development directions.


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