An international time equivalency of the pure transfer penalty in urban transit trips: Closing the gap

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban, planning - methods, planning - network design


Pure transfer penalty, Equivalent in-vehicle time, Role of transfers in design, Lines structures, International value range


The perception of transfers in urban transit trips plays a key role when choosing an appropriate design of a public transport network for a given city, as there are lines structures that involve significantly more connections than others, e.g. hub-and-spoke or feeder-trunk. Besides additional walking and waiting, a transfer involves the interruption of a trip, whose value, called pure transfer penalty (PTP), has not received the same attention from a behavioral viewpoint. In this paper we contribute to find whether there is an equivalency with as general validity as walking and waiting regarding in-vehicle time. We do this by reviewing available evidence – all in relatively large cities - and by estimating the PTP in the very small Spanish city of Vitoria adapting a generic methodology that has been applied only to a metropolitan area (Madrid). Although Vitoria is much smaller in size, with fewer shares of multimodal trips, harder climate and shorter trip distances, results reveal that PTP is perceived as an increase of 18.4 Equivalent-In-Vehicle-Minutes (EIVM) when it does not rain or snow, very close to the values obtained in Madrid (15.2–17.7) and other reported meta-analysis (17.6). This figure drops when bad weather happens, which yields a weighted annual average of 13.9 EIVM. We propose 13–18 as a reasonable equivalence range for planning purposes.


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


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