Communication-Based Cooperative Control Strategy for Public Transport Transfer Synchronization

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - australasia, infrastructure - interchange/transfer, planning - service improvement, planning - methods, operations - coordination


Synchronized transfers, communication-based cooperative control (CCC) strategy, passenger transfer waiting time


Synchronized transfers in public transport (PT) networks are used to reduce interroute or intermodal passenger transfer waiting time and to provide well-connected PT services. However, in practice, it is well known that synchronized transfers do not always occur because of stochastic and uncertain factors such as traffic disturbances and disruptions, fluctuations in passenger demand, and erroneous behavior on the part of PT drivers. This paper proposes a communication-based cooperative control (CCC) strategy, which has its basis in a library of selected operational tactics (e.g., skip stop or station, holding, changes in speed) to increase the actual occurrence of synchronized transfers and thus reduce average passenger transfer waiting time. The performance of the CCC strategy was compared with three other control strategies, namely, the without control strategy, the conventional schedule-based control strategy, and the communication-based noncooperative control strategy, according to various system performance indicators. A Monte Carlo method-based simulation procedure was developed to address the endogenous randomness in vehicle travel time, passenger demand, and driver behavior. The proposed methodology was applied to a detailed example network and in a case study in Auckland, New Zealand. The simulation and optimization results showed that, compared with the other three strategies, the CCC strategy performed best to increase the actual occurrence of planned synchronized transfers, reduce the average passenger transfer waiting time, and reduce the vehicle bunching percentage. Thus the CCC strategy shows great potential to increase the efficiency of PT networks, which involves synchronized transfers, and ultimately to improve the attractiveness of PT service.


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