Improving Bus Service Levels and social equity through bus frequency modelling

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - urban, technology - geographic information systems, planning - service level, planning - service improvement, operations - frequency, policy - equity


Public transport, Bus headways optimization, Social equity, Spatial equity, Simulation, GIS-T


Bus lines play an essential role in providing urban public transport service. Demographic and socioeconomic characteristics determine the specific transport service needs of districts that, in most cases, are not served by the existing bus routes. Small changes in the frequency of a bus route can have a direct effect on the territorial distribution of a city's public transport service. Adjusting the frequencies of a bus fleet can help planners improve the service level and adapt the fleet's spatial distribution. A bus frequency optimization methodology is proposed to improve harmonization between service level and social equity in public transport. The method relies on a simple spreadsheet that integrates geographic data about bus routes and socioeconomic information about city districts. Simulation and optimization procedures are coordinated to appropriately adjust the routes to the geographic space. The proposed method is tested in a real case study that demonstrates its usefulness in analysing the service level and equity of a transport system and improving a city's public transport planning.


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


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