Assessing the Bus Bridging Effectiveness on the Operational Resilience of the Subway Service in Toronto

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - subway/metro, place - north america, place - urban, literature review, operations - performance, operations - capacity, ridership - demand


Bus bridging, operational resilience of subway, unplanned rail disruptions


Unplanned rail disruptions result in substantial delays to passengers and severe effects on the economy of a large city like Toronto. While bus bridging has been a widely adopted method to replace the subway service in such events, its effect on the operational resilience of the subway service is less often studied. This study assesses the resilience of the subway network of Toronto employing an optimal bus bridging strategy. First, subway incidents are categorized based on their characteristics using K-mean clustering analysis. The incidents are then grouped based on the performance of optimal bus bridging plans. Classification and regression tree analysis is used for this task, employing two metrics: the total user delay and total number of shuttle buses under the optimal bridging scenario. Queueing and optimization models developed previously by the University of Toronto are used to determine and simulate the optimal bus bridging plans of a sample of incidents. The severity of unplanned disruptions is finally demonstrated using a severity scale and the effect of incident duration uncertainty is analyzed. The results show that along the congested city alignments, where the capacity of the roads and stations is limited, the bus bridging service is often insufficient to replace the train service. However, it could be a good alternative in uncongested subway segments where the available street capacity is relatively high, allowing large bus volumes to serve the corridor. This model is easily applicable to different rail systems and it could assess other systems to produce better bridging plans.


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