Spatial data analysis approach for network-wide consolidation of bus stop locations

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - stop, mode - bus, operations - performance, place - north america, planning - methods, planning - network design, planning - service improvement, planning - service quality, ridership - demand


Bus transit system, Stop locations, Stop spacing, Bus ridership, Travel time, Accessibility


Existing studies indicate that ideal spacing between bus stops improves the quality of service, travel time, and other transit service parameters. In this study, a network-wide heuristic methodology is proposed to optimize the number of stops in an existing bus network by eliminating redundant stops along each bus route in the network through an iterative process. It is postulated that ideal stop spacing can substantially lower the operating costs as it can reduce fleet size requirements without affecting the performance of the transit system. The proposed methodology attempts to eliminate undesired stops based on two vital inputs: (1) stop spacing, and (2) passenger boarding, which represent accessibility and travel time/delay. Potentially undesirable stops are eliminated recursively while their corresponding passenger boarding is redistributed across the adjacent stops. The process is repeated until ideal stop locations are identified. Stop location consolidation is evaluated using two performance indicators, i.e., in-vehicle travel time and access distance, which are considered for evaluating the performance of the modified bus network and comparing the total ridership with the existing network to justify the improvements. In other words, the ideal stop spacing is determined based on projected demand (ridership) loss and assessment of the performance indicators. The application of the proposed methodology is demonstrated using the bus network of the City of Regina in Saskatchewan, Canada. The findings of this research are expected to serve as a decision support tool for transit planners by offering additional flexibility to adopt appropriate bus stop spacing for an existing network.


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