Network design for line-based autonomous bus services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, place - europe, place - urban, operations - frequency, planning - network design, planning - route design, planning - service level, planning - integration, economics - operating costs, technology - intelligent transport systems


Public transport, Automated bus, Network design, Simulation-based multi-objective optimization


The maturing of autonomous driving technology in recent years has led to several pilot projects and the initial integration of autonomous pods and buses into the public transport (PT) system. An emerging field of interest is the design of public transport networks operating autonomous buses and the potential to attract higher levels of travel demand. In this work a multi-objective optimization and multi-agent simulation framework is developed to study potential changes in the network design and frequency settings compared to conventional PT systems when autonomous vehicles (AV) systems are deployed on fixed-route networks. During the optimization process multiple deployment scenarios (network configurations and service frequency) are evaluated and optimized considering the operator cost, user cost and infrastructure preparation costs of the system. User-focused network design and operator-focused network design are studied for a real-world urban area in Sweden. The results provide insights into the network design and level of service implications brought about by the deployment of autonomous bus (AB) when those are integrated in route-based PT systems. We show that the deployment of autonomous buses result with a network design that increases service ridership. In the context of our case study this increase is likely to primarily substitute walking.


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