Optimal Operational Strategies for Multiple Bus Lines Considering Passengers’ Preferences

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - bus, ridership - demand, planning - integration, planning - methods


Bus, Passenger demand, Operation strategies


A public transit system with multiple fixed bus lines faces non-uniform fluctuating passenger demand, both spatial and temporal. This non-uniformity warrants the use of public transit operational strategies to achieve efficiency. This study proposes a methodology for optimizing the operational integration of multiple bus lines to address the spatial non-uniformity of passenger demand by applying five operational strategies: full-route operation, short turn, limited stop, deadheading, and a mixture of either two or three of the latter three strategies. The operational strategies to be developed improve the efficiency of bus lines and accommodate the observed passenger demand in the most favorable manner, that is, through the consideration of passengers’ preferences with the objective of the minimum resulting cost. The methodology is first applied to a sample problem, and then to a real-life case study of multiple bus lines in Dalian, China. The results obtained demonstrate that the effectiveness of combined strategies is higher than that of any single strategy. In the real-life bus line case, a combination of strategies without considering deadheading trips saves four vehicles in comparison with the full-route operation scenario. The anticipated number of vehicles is further reduced by three by the introduction of the deadheading trip strategy, resulting in greater public transit system efficiency.


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