Do Transit Users Just Wait for Buses or Wait with Strategies? Some Numerical Results That Transit Planners Should See

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - scheduling, operations - reliability, land use - planning, mode - bus, mode - mass transit


Waiting time, Transit, Schedules and scheduling, Schedule reliability, Regression analysis, Regression, Public transit, Planning, Passengers, Mathematical models, Mass transit, Local transit, Intracity bus transportation, Headways, Econometrics, Bus transit operations, Bus transit, Austin (Texas), Arrivals and departures


The effects of bus line headway, schedule reliability index, and many other potential predictors on passenger waiting times were investigated. A large amount of waiting time data, including passenger-related attributes and transit system operational characteristics, was collected by direct observation and by videotaping during a 6-month period in the city of Austin, Texas. Various mathematical models were developed, and a preferred model was identified. A linear regression model that uses bus line headway as the only independent variable to predict passenger waiting times was given for transit planning purposes. A great difference between the traditional random model and the study model was examined. With the use of structural breaks on the basis of an econometric analysis approach for the first time, several insights into the numerical results were provided. An 11-min vehicle headway was identified to mark the transition from practically random to less random passenger arrivals, and all transit users can be regarded as coordinated arrivals after 38-min bus headway. The benefits of coordinated arrivals compared with random arrivals were also presented.