Public transport service-quality elements based on real-time operational tactics

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - performance, operations - reliability, place - australasia, place - europe, planning - service improvement, planning - service quality, planning - signage/information, ridership - perceptions, technology - intelligent transport systems


Public transport, Service quality, Operational tactics, Passenger perspective, Conjoint measurement


Public transport (PT) real-time control actions, such as daily implementation of operational tactics, play a vital role in service reliability because of allowing for improvement of the quality of service perceived by passengers. Applying appropriate tactics leads to increased service reliability, reduced passenger waiting time, prevention of missed transfers and curtail passenger frustrations. To date, various studies have investigated the efficiency of using real time tactics and its effects on PT system performance. Yet, passenger perception related to various operational tactics remains one of the most poorly understood aspects of PT operations. The purpose of this study is to cultivate an understanding of what constitutes PT service quality (SQ) at the operational level, using real time operational tactics based on user-centric performance measures. SQ as a measure of serviceability in a PT system has been evaluated in relation to four definitive factors: performance, information, operational tactics, and travel time. A conjoint analysis combined with cluster analysis is developed to capture the most important factors in evaluating the SQ process. Two case studies, each from a different country, have been selected. One is at a major terminal in Auckland, New Zealand, and the other in Lyon, France. The findings show which attributes are important in assessing SQ and how they vary in importance in different case studies.


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