Optimal design of a bus route with short-turn services

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, planning - route design, operations - capacity


Bus route design, Short-turn service pattern, Multiple objective optimization, Pareto-analysis


In today’s world, the transit load of urban areas has increased tremendously, so the costs related to the operations has increased and ensuring a certain level of service has become challenging. Bus service is one of the most widely used modes of public transportation. A critical issue of bus services is to manage the limited capacity of buses efficiently. To cope with the limited capacity efficiently, short-turn service patterns are commonly used as a bus route design strategy. In this study, we propose a modelling approach to design a bus route with short-turn service patterns accounting for various objectives of the operator and passengers, such as minimizing the capacity surplus, capacity shortage and passenger time related costs. We present a real-life case study showing the significant benefits of short-turn services. The results show that the pareto-frontier curves are similar for different time periods (i.e. low- and high-demand periods). Most importantly, the trade-off between capacity surplus and shortage is not linear in case of a short-turn service strategy. Significant gains can be achieved in capacity shortage by decrementing the capacity surplus slightly. Additionally, capacity shortage can be improved much easier compared to passenger time costs when a short-turn service pattern strategy is used. We also show that using optimal route design with a short-turn strategy yields a capacity surplus improvement of 60–70% in return for only 1% decrement of capacity shortage compared to the current practice without short-turns in a case study.


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