Posted in January 2018

Assessing and improving operational strategies for the benefit of passengers in rail-bound urban transport systems

Unplanned disruptions in transit can have consequent impacts on passengers. The more inconvenienced passengers are, the more likely operators will be negatively impacted. Yet so far, operators and researchers have addressed the rescheduling problem during disruptions mainly with a supply-side focus – timetable, crews and vehicles – and not with a passenger perspective. Urban rail transit particularly lacks insights in terms of passenger- focused rescheduling. Being able to assess the inconvenience experienced by passengers during disruptions compared with what they normally experience, and being able to compare how different rescheduling strategies affect them are therefore two major challenges.

The framework developed in this study precisely aims at tackling 8 these challenges. A case study of the metro of Rotterdam is used to test the framework developed in this paper. Alternative strategies are developed focusing on the incident phase (from the beginning of the incident until its cause is resolved). The application of the framework reveals that a regularity-focused rescheduling strategy would be beneficial for high-frequency service users. Realistically, yearly savings could amount to around €900,000 in terms of societal passenger costs for the operator in the Rotterdam area alone. However, the omnipresence of the punctuality paradigm, through which most operators plan and analyze operations, makes the implementation of passenger-focused strategies a challenging task for traffic controllers. The results of the study are valuable for transit operators worldwide and the framework can provide insights to decision-makers on the performance of different strategies, bringing to light trade-offs between supply and passenger sides during disruptions.

Read more of this research by Anne Durand: Paper TRB and Poster TRB

The Potential of Demand Responsive Transport as a Complement to Public Transport

Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) offers a collective flexible travel alternative that can potentially complement Fixed Transit (FT). The combination of an on-demand and line-based services holds the promise of improved mobility and increased service coverage. However, insofar it remains unknown whether DRT services deliver such much anticipated improvements.

This study presents an assessment framework to evaluate the performance of DRT and related changes in accessibility and performs an empirical analysis for a recently introduced DRT service in the Netherlands. The framework includes a performance benchmark between DRT and FT based on the computation of generalized journey times of the DRT rides and the FT alternatives, and it can help identify whether DRT is used as complement or substitute of FT.
The framework covers the spatial and temporal dimensions, and the explicit consideration of rejected trips is an integral part of the evaluation. Results suggest large accessibility improvements for DRT users, especially for some underserved origin-destination pairs.

Read more of this work of Maria J. Alonso Gonzalez: TRB Paper and TRB Presentation

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