Rob van Nes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - mass transit, place - urban, planning - network design, ridership - commuting


Traveler groups, Travel behavior, Transit network design, Transit, Social welfare, Ridership, Public transit, Patronage (Transit ridership), Optimization, Optimisation, Mass transit, Local transit, Consumers surplus


In transit network design it is common to use characteristics of the average traveler to describe travel behavior, while in reality different traveler groups can be distinguished that react differently with respect to transport service quality. A study is conducted of the possible consequences of basing the design of urban transit networks on the preferences of specific traveler groups. To that end, an analytical network optimization model is developed that considers a mix of different traveler groups simultaneously. Results from the analyses show that focusing on specific traveler groups leads to clearly different network design characteristics. However, the optimal network design developed for the average traveler proved to be the best network for all traveler groups. Furthermore, it was found that focusing on traveler groups having good transport alternatives led to very low values of consumer surplus and social welfare. Optimizing transit networks while considering different traveler groups simultaneously results in networks that are similar to those using the traditional single-user-class approach based on the average traveler. Differences in preferences for traveler groups are balanced by the size of the resulting transit patronage. Apparently, a more realistic description of the demand side is not essential for urban transit network design.