AN IMPROVED METHODOLOGY TO EVALUATE BUS TRANSIT PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

RICHARD PHILIP GUENTHNER, Purdue University

Abstract

Today most public transportation systems in the United States are publicly owned. Consequently, the industry goals can no longer be for a profit, but rather, for public service. A general understanding in the industry is that any service improvement is made to satisfy a public need and is not necessarily to be cost-effective. However, in current times of tight money and reduced subsidies, service cut backs often become inevitable. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly important to evaluate transit options not only on the basis of costs and revenues, but also on the basis of their impact upon measures of system performance.^ This research involves the development and field evaluation of a model that can assess the impact of system performance due to a change in fare or service. The model is applicable to transit systems in small and medium sized cities. Its potential use in midwestern cities was examined in a field survey, and its operation was tested in a number of those cities examined.^ In this effort, the model was refined and expanded such that it could be used in a large range of cities for a variety of situations. Specific attention was given to several of the more sensitive elements of the model including: a method to measure ridership changes due to causes other than a fare or service change, analysis of the travel time components of urban bus travel, and a determination of the bus delays due to the boarding and alighting of passengers.^ This research also developed a tool for examining performance as a result of changes in vehicle maintenance policy. This was done by linking the Performance Evaluation Model with a maintenance model. An energy module was also added to the package.^ This research resulted in a tool which can be used by bus operators and planners to evaluate systematically the effect of various transit improvement alternatives in terms of system performance. Also, this model can serve as a research tool in the quest for more effective use of transit dollars.^

Degree

Ph.D.

Subject Area

Engineering, Civil

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