Bus bunching along a corridor served by two lines

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, infrastructure - stop, planning - network design, operations - performance


Bus bunching, Common lines, Service regularity, Queuing Behaviour, Bus stop layout


Headway fluctuations and “bus bunching” are well known phenomena on many bus routes where an initial delay to one service can disturb the whole schedule due to resulting differences in dwell times of subsequent buses at stops. This paper deals with the influence of a frequent but so far largely neglected characteristic of bus networks on bus bunching, that is the presence of overtaking and common lines. A set of discrete state equations is implemented to obtain the departure times of a group of buses following the occurrence of an exogenous delay to one bus at a bus stop. Two models are distinguished depending on whether overtaking at stops is possible or not. If two buses board simultaneously and overtaking is not possible, passengers will board the front bus. If overtaking is possible, passengers form equilibrium queues in order to minimise their waiting times. Conditions for equilibrium queues among passengers with different choice sets are formulated. With a case study we then illustrate that, if overtaking is not allowed, the presence of common lines worsens the service regularity along the corridor. Conversely, common lines have positive effects when overtaking is possible. We suggest hence that appropriate network design is important to reduce the negative effects of delay-prone lines on the overall network performance.


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


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