Incorporating service reliability in public transport design and performance requirements

Public transport passengers consider service reliability a key quality aspect. However, in
most countries, actual services are not perceived as very reliable. To gain insights in how
public transport authorities deal with (improving) service reliability and planning, an
international survey was performed. This survey showed that there is little attention paid to
service reliability during the design of the network and the timetable. In addition, it illustrated that little consistency exists in approaches. In addition, a second survey in The Netherlands was performed, showing how public transport authorities deal with service reliability in relation to concession requirements and incentive regimes. The main findings are that consistency is lacking on this topic, even within the Netherlands, and that little attention is paid to passenger impacts of service reliability in concession requirements. This may result in services that do not match the (implicitly) required level of service reliability.

These surveys also demonstrated that there is no consistency in the definition of service reliability. We illustrated that this may lead to different levels of quality concerning these indicators, while actual quality is constant. In this paper, recommendations are presented to improve concession requirements as well as the design of network and timetable, both aiming at enhanced service reliability.

Read more: Thredbo 2013 paper Van Oort

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