Optimal Zone Design for Feeder Transit Services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - route design, land use - planning, ridership - demand, economics - operating costs, mode - mass transit


Zones, Transportation planning, Transit, Simulation, Routes and routing, Residential areas, Public transit, Operating costs, Mathematical models, Mass transit, Local transit, Fixed routes, Feeder services, Demand responsive transportation, Customer service, Cost of operation, Computer simulation


Feeder transit services generally operate within residential service areas and move customers to and from a transfer point that connects to a major fixed-route transit network. Feeders can operate in a traditional fixed-route or in an emerging demand-responsive fashion. In designing such systems, planners may divide the entire service area into zones independently served by a single feeder line to provide better customer service, lower operating cost, and make management of the operations easier. An analytical model is developed to help decision makers determine the number of zones in a residential service area while balancing customer service quality and vehicle operating costs. For fixed-route and demand-responsive feeder transit, closed-form expressions and numerical procedures are used to derive the optimal number of zones as a function of the main parameters. Analytical expressions are validated by simulation runs.