Full-Day Accessibility Evaluation of Transit Systems Using GPS-Based Location Data

Principal Investigator:

Ying Song, Assistant Professor, Geography

Project Summary:

This project will utilize the vehicle movement data collected within transit networks, explore the spatio-temporal distributions of dwell times and other delays, and use them to improve the estimation of future arrival times for use in providing more reliable service to transit users and refining existing multi-modal accessibility measures considering traffic situation along transit routes throughout the day. Most transit system operators collect, store and manage automatic vehicle location (AVL) and automatic passenger counter (APC) datasets which are underutilized in research on how traffic affects transit system performance and the consequent users' transit mobility and accessibility. Conventional analyses usually extract the arrival and departure times at bus stops and/or rail stations from AVL and APC data, and use them to model dwelling and average waiting times along routes. This omits the vehicle location data collected between stops or stations, which can be valuable in understanding the behavior and impacts of transit system. This project will work with AVL and APC datasets in their original formats, and demonstrate how mobility and accessibility can be analyzed and modeled from a reliability perspective. Instead of assuming perfect schedule adherence every day, it will be possible to measure how much variation in mobility and accessibility users experience due to unpredictability in transit travel times. Additionally, this approach may reveal approaches to optimize transit system operations by identifying "hot spots" where and when transit performance is most impacted by road congestion. This project is designed in accord with the currently emerging sustainable mobility paradigm (Banister 2008) in transportation planning. It recognizes that expanding roads and increasing speeds are not sufficient to fulfill the increasing demands on mobility. Instead it may result in more environment costs such as gas consumption, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, injuries and traffic fatalities. Providing reliable and affordable transit services is a feasible solution that can reduce automobile dependency while improving access to housing, jobs, health services and various resources and opportunities.


Project Details:

  • Start date: 03/2017
  • Project Status: Completed
  • Research Area: Planning and Economy
  • Topics: Transit planning