Simulation-based optimization of large-scale dedicated bus lanes allocation: Using efficient machine learning models as surrogates

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - bus, infrastructure - bus/tram lane, planning - network design


Discrete Transportation Network Design, Dedicated Bus Lanes Allocation, Machine Learning Model, Simulation-based Optimization


Dedicated Bus Lanes (DBLs) have been implemented in many cities to boost buses’ reliability and to alleviate traffic congestions. However, how to correctly allocate DBLs across a large-scale real-world network is challenging. Simulation-Based Optimization (SBO) methods were utilized in this work to resolve this optimal allocation problem. Traditional discrete SBO methods are intractable when handling high-dimensional, costly, simulation-based Transportation Network Design Problems (TNDPs) using a limited computational budget. Thus, several efficient Machine Learning (ML)-based surrogate models and a Jackknife uncertainty estimator were introduced to existing SBO framework in this work. A number of comparative experiments between proposed methods and frequently-used Gaussian Process (GP)-SBO methods were conducted. A mesoscopic simulation and Dynamic Traffic Assignment (DTA) tool was adopted to evaluate the network performance.

The results of numerical studies show that the optimization efficiency of proposed method is significantly higher than that of commonly used GP-based method when dealing with high dimensional problems. A real-world DBLs allocation case study in Guiyang, Guizhou Province, China again proves that efficient ML-based SBO method is capable to take much less CPU runtime to obtain a better solution than traditional method. The optimal DBLs allocation scheme found by one of the efficient ML-based methods raises the network performance by 5.05 %. A total of 1,376 h travel time is saved, and the average travel time per traveler drops by 0.75 min. In conclusion, efficient ML-based SBO method proposed in this study is more promising to handle large-scale, discrete, costly simulation-based DBLs allocation problems within a limited computational budget than common GP-based SBO methods.


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


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