Review of bus rapid transit and branded bus service network performance in Australia

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus rapid transit, mode - bus, place - australasia, place - urban, infrastructure - bus/tram priority, operations - performance


Bus rapid transit, Branded bus services, Performance index, Normalisation, Benchmarking, Australian urban services


Bus rapid transit on dedicated right-of-way and branded bus services with a distinct visual identity have been implemented in various forms around Australia over the past three decades. A major public policy debate has surrounded the relative success of these bus priority and branding measures as compared with generic route services in attracting patronage. In this paper, we devise a metric known as a (gross) patronage performance ratio to quantify the success for each of seven bus rapid transit systems and 20 branded bus services as compared with regular route buses across six Australian capitals. A regression analysis is conducted to determine the statistical significance of various bus priority and brand identity initiatives which are used as inputs into a normalisation procedure to determine the net patronage performance ratio of each service offering. This allows an informed comparison between systems and cities, controlling for operating environment and other service characteristics. The results reinforce the patronage merits of upgraded bus services in contrast to standard bus services. Measures like network legibility and brand identity all help upgrade the image of the bus.


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


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