Schedule-free high-frequency transit operations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, mode - bus rapid transit, operations - coordination, technology - intelligent transport systems, planning - service quality, planning - methods


High-frequency transit, Schedule-free, Real-time control


High-frequency transit systems are essential for the socioeconomic and environmental well-being of large and dense cities. The planning and control of their operations are important determinants of service quality. Although headway and optimization-based control strategies generally outperform schedule-adherence strategies, high-frequency operations are mostly planned with schedules, in part because operators must observe resource constraints (neglected by most control strategies) while planning and delivering service. This research develops a schedule-free paradigm for high-frequency transit operations, in which trip sequences and departure times are optimized in real-time, employing stop-skipping strategies and utilizing real-time information to maximize service quality while satisfying operator resource constraints. Following a discussion of possible methodological approaches, a simple methodology is applied to operate a simulated transit service without schedules. Results demonstrate the feasibility of the new paradigm.


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