Methodology for Evaluating Potential for Limited-Stop Bus Service Along Existing Local Bus Corridors


Nicholas Hart

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - north america, infrastructure - stop, planning - route design, planning - service quality, ridership - demand, operations - frequency


Limited-stop bus service, transit agencies, net benefit


Limited-stop bus service is a service configuration implemented by many large transit agencies along high-demand bus corridors. Limited-stop service is advantageous because it produces faster running times along the route or corridor than those of local service and it increases efficiency in terms of the number of trips a vehicle can make along the route or corridor in a given time span. However, for many transit agencies it is not necessarily apparent whether the implementation of a limited-stop service configuration along specific routes and corridors will provide a net benefit to passengers, especially under a resource-neutral implementation strategy in which local bus trips are replaced with limited-stop trips. Although a resource-neutral implementation strategy offers the greatest potential for cost savings, increases in wait, access, and egress time for passengers along a corridor can easily offset the intended benefits of reduced onboard time and cause a reduction in the quality of service to passengers. This study developed a methodology for transit agencies to evaluate the potential for limited-stop bus service along existing local routes. The methodology was designed to identify existing routes where the net benefits of onboard travel time savings outweighed the net burdens of increased wait, access, and egress times should limited-stop service be implemented. A set of six metrics was used for the evaluation: existing service frequency, concentration of passenger demand, distribution of stops with high passenger demand, passenger trip length, roadway geometry, and traffic congestion. The methodology was applied to identify candidates for limited-stop service within the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority bus network.


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