Bus control strategies in corridors with signalized intersections

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, technology - intelligent transport systems, operations - reliability, operations - scheduling, operations - coordination, operations - performance, operations - capacity, economics - operating costs


Bus bunching, Dynamic controlling strategies, Time-headway adherence, Bus reliability


This paper proposes a new dynamic bus control strategy aimed at reducing the negative effects of time-headway variations on route performance, based on real-time bus tracking data at stops. In routes with high demand, any delay of a single vehicle ends up causing an unstable motion of buses and producing the bus bunching phenomena. This strategy controls the cruising speed of buses and considers the extension of the green phase of traffic lights at intersections, when a bus is significantly delayed. The performance of this strategy will be compared to the current static operation technique based on the provision of slack times at holding points. An operational model is presented in order to estimate the effects of each controlling strategy, taking into account the vehicle capacity constraint. Control strategies are assessed in terms of passenger total travel time, operating cost as well as on the coefficient of headway variation. The effects of controlling strategies are tested in an idealized bus route under different operational settings and in the bus route of highest demand in Barcelona by simulation. The results show that the proposed dynamic controlling strategy reduces total system cost (user and agency) by 15–40% as well as the coefficient of headway variation 53–78% regarding the uncontrolled case, providing a bus performance similar to the expected when time disturbance is not presented.


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


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