From Delay to Disruption: Impact of Service Degradation on Public Transport Networks

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, planning - methods, planning - service level


Public transport networks (PTN), Disruptions, Delays


Public transport networks (PTN) are affected daily by different types of disturbances. In fact, between a single delay and a long service interruption, there is a range of disruptions with different impacts, depending on their characteristics. Despite this, in literature, the common definition of disruption is a link closure for a certain amount of time. Low interest is given to different types of disruptions or to the connection between delays and disruptions. In addition, in multimodal PTN a physical link closure is not always observable, but rather people experience delays or cancelled stops on different lines. The aim of this work is to explore the relationship between delays and disruptions, analyzing different degrees of disruptions, in relation to duration, delay, size, and network characteristics. Real disturbances of the PTNs in Zürich and Bern, Switzerland, are analyzed to identify disruptions with different characteristics. Therefore, the disruption impact is computed on simulated origin–destinations (ODs), based on the sets of possible paths with and without the disruption. For this purpose, a choice set generation algorithm is used. Finally, relationships between the disruption characteristics and the impact are analyzed to identify the main features of a disruption.


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