Applications of Inferred Origins, Destinations, and Interchanges in Bus Service Planning

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, technology - geographic information systems, technology - passenger information, technology - ticketing systems, place - north america, ridership - behaviour, planning - methods, planning - network design, planning - route design, planning - service improvement, planning - travel demand management


fare card data, vehicle location data, origins, destinations, transfers, transit network design


A growing number of researchers and transit agencies are using fare card and vehicle location data to infer passengers’ origins, destinations, and transfers. A number of researchers have suggested that these new data sets provide valuable information for transit network design, but few concrete applications have been developed to address bus network design and service planning problems. This paper proposes new service planning procedures to aggregate these automated data to examine travel patterns to specific locations of interest to propose needed improvements. The data from existing passengers’ trips are then analyzed to assess the benefits of the proposed service changes. In particular, the number of existing passengers who would likely experience shorter travel times with the service changes is calculated according to the geometry of how a proposed new or extended route intersects with the existing transit network. The results of this analysis provide planners with better information than is currently available to support decisions on how to allocate the scarce resources typically available for service changes. Several case studies from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority are presented to illustrate these analytical techniques.


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