Sustainable urban mobility: Flexible bus service network design in the post-pandemic era

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - urban, mode - bus, ridership - behaviour, planning - service quality, planning - personal safety/crime, planning - network design, policy - sustainable


Sustainability, Urban bus system, Sustainable service network design, In-vehicle traffic congestion, Post-pandemic era


The excessive traffic congestion in vehicles lowers the service quality of urban bus system, reduces the social distance of bus passengers, and thus, increases the spread speed of epidemics, such as coronavirus disease. In the post-pandemic era, it is one of the main concerns for the transportation agency to provide a sustainable urban bus service to balance the travel convenience in accessibility and the travel safety in social distance for bus passengers, which essentially reduces the in-vehicle passenger congestion or smooths the boarding–alighting unbalance of passengers. Incorporating the route choice behavior of passengers, this paper proposes a sustainable service network design strategy by selecting one subset of the stops to maximize the total passenger-distance (person kilometers) with exogenously given loading factor and stop-spacing level, which can be captured by constrained non-linear programming model. The loading factor directly determines the in-vehicle social distance, and the stop-spacing level can efficiently reduce the ridership with short journey distance. Therefore, the sustainable service network design can be used to help the government minimize the spread of the virus while guaranteeing the service quality of transport patterns in the post-pandemic era. A real-world case study is adopted to illustrate the validity of the proposed scheme and model.


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


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