Metro system disruption management and substitute bus service: a systematic review and future directions

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - subway/metro, place - urban, operations - scheduling, infrastructure - rolling stock, literature review - literature review


Metro/rail disruption management, substitute bus (SB) service, network vulnerability, timetable adjustment


Disruptions in the metro system often result in chaos in the public transport system given their substantial modal share in major metropolitan areas. Metro system disruption can be managed both within the system and by substitute bus (SB) service external to the system. Managing disruption within the metro system typically involves timetable adjustment, rolling stock scheduling, and crew rescheduling, subject to the rail system design and availability of crossovers for turnovers. SB service or bus bridging, on the other hand, is one prominent way to mitigate the negative impact of a metro disruption. In the past decade, research on this topic has grown substantially. In this paper, by conducting a comprehensive search in the Web of Science publications, we identify and review about 70 papers. According to the three aspects of metro system disruption management, we classify the literature into three groups: (i) getting prepared for metro network disruption, (ii) managing disruption within the metro system, and (iii) managing metro disruption with SB service. After summarising the state-of-the-art on this topic, we conclude by identifying gaps and future research directions, primarily on substitute bus service, for this important development effort.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.