Operational planning of public transit with economic and environmental goals: application to the Minneapolis–St. Paul bus system

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, place - urban, economics - operating costs, technology - emissions, planning - service level, planning - environmental impact, infrastructure - fleet management, operations - scheduling


Transportation, Multi-criteria optimization, Mixed-integer programming, Operational planning, Operating costs, Environmental impacts


This study develops a framework to optimize bus assignments and operating practices to routes considering both operating costs and environmental goals. The mixed-integer programming model is applied to the Metro Transit bus system in the Minneapolis–St. Paul metropolitan area. The model is used to derive representative solutions on the efficient frontiers between operating costs and emissions, and to demonstrate how economic factors such as fuel cost and service level affect the trade-offs between costs and environmental outcomes. An analysis of fleet composition shows that vehicle assignments can significantly affect the cost and emission performance of the fleet. We then use the model to evaluate the actual bus assignment schedule used by Metro Transit, and provide suggestions on how to reduce operating costs and emissions. The model is useful in supporting strategic decisions such as vehicle replacement and purchase, as well as operational planning.


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