Autonomous and conventional bus fleet optimization for fixed-route operations considering demand uncertainty

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - urban, infrastructure - fleet management, technology - intelligent transport systems, planning - methods, planning - integration, planning - travel demand management


Autonomous bus service, Demand uncertainty, Stochastic programming, Conic programming, Quadratic transform


The emerging technology of autonomous vehicles has been widely recognized as a promising urban mobility solution in the future. This paper considers the integration of autonomous vehicles into bus transit systems and proposes a modeling framework to determine the optimal bus fleet size and its assignment onto multiple bus lines in a bus service network considering uncertain demand. The mixed-integer stochastic programming approach is applied to formulate the problem. We apply the sample average approximation (SAA) method to solve the formulated stochastic programming problem. To tackle the nonconvexity of the SAA problem, we first present a reformulation method that transforms the problem into a mixed-integer conic quadratic program (MICQP), which can be solved to its global optimal solution by using some existing solution methods. However, this MICQP based approach can only handle the small-size problems. For the cases with large problem size, we apply the approach of quadratic transform with linear alternating algorithm, which allows for efficient solution to large-scale instances with up to thousands of scenarios in a reasonable computational time. Numerical results demonstrate the benefits of introducing autonomous buses as they are flexible to be assigned across different bus service lines, especially when demand uncertainty is more significant. The introduction of autonomous buses would enable further reduction of the required fleets and total cost. The model formulation and solution methods proposed in this study can be used to provide bus transit operators with operational guidance on including autonomous buses into bus services, especially on the autonomous and conventional bus fleets composition and allocation.


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