Provision of Bus Real-Time Information: Turning Passengers from Being Contributors of Headway Irregularity to Controllers

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, operations - scheduling, technology - intelligent transport systems, planning - signage/information, ridership - demand, ridership - behaviour


real-time information, bus, high-frequency routes, headway regularity


In frequently serviced bus routes passengers are more concerned about bus headway regularity than actual punctuality to the schedule. The buses tend to bunch naturally partly because of the participation of passengers in the system. Thus, the irregularity of headway of routes with high passenger demand is extremely serious. With the development of technique, bus real-time information containing arrival times and passenger-loads of following buses can be provided for passengers. A special “control way” which is particularly adaptive to the high-frequency routes is proposed based on this background. It is thought that passengers would control the headway regularity themselves when provided with bus real-time information. To test the effects of this special “control way,” bus-focused stochastic models are used for the simulation. The results show that providing real-time information does improve headway regularity as expected. The impacts are significant in morning-peak simulation. There is a reduction of 30.1% of headway irregularity after providing real-time information in morning peak, as well as, 18.5% in off-peak. Besides, through the comparison of line without passenger and normal line, it is confirmed that passengers are a vital factor contributing to the headway irregularity. By providing real-time information, the moderating effects of passengers approximately offset the negative effects from them both in morning peak and in off-peak. Lastly, as expected, passenger loads among buses became more even both in morning peak and in off-peak.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by SAGE, copyright remains with them.