A review of public transport transfer synchronisation at the real-time control phase

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - coordination, technology - automatic vehicle monitoring, technology - intelligent transport systems


Public transport, transfer synchronisation, real-time control, control strategies, connectivity


We perform a systematic review of real-time control strategies for transfer synchronisations in public transport. In particular, we review inter-station and intra-station control measures that can be applied in near real-time, including vehicle holding, stop-skipping, speed control, short-turning, rescheduling, interlining, rerouting, and boarding limits. The topic of public transfer synchronisation at the operational phase is both a technically challenging and timely topic. It is technically challenging because finding optimal control measures is a computationally intensive problem and these measures should be computed in near real-time. It is also timely because of the emerging developments in shared mobility, Mobility-as-a-Service schemes, on-demand public transport, and vehicle automation that pose new opportunities as well as challenges in designing seamless passenger transfers. In our systematic review, we analyse the modelling approaches for real-time transfer synchronisation, including mathematical programmes, heuristics, rule-based approaches, and stochastic optimisation models. We then critically discuss the available literature and provide a future outlook, outlining six research directions.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Taylor&Francis, copyright remains with them.