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Reliability Assessment and Improvements along a Bus Corridor Open Access


Other title
Schedule-based Holding Strategy
Performance measure
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Sikder, Rajib
Supervisor and department
Dr. Amy Kim, Assistant Professor, Transportation Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Manish Shirgaokar, Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences
Dr. Zhi-Jun (Tony) Qiu, Assistant Professor, Transportation Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Transportation Engineering
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
Service reliability is an important indicator of transit performance, and has been the subject of much attention in both the research and practice for decades. Reliability of bus service depends on variations in service characteristics such as travel time, schedule adherence, headway, and wait time. As a fundamental property of bus service, reliability determines services’ cost and attractiveness to existing and potential passengers. It is important to the transit agency for resource planning and operation. In this study, two frameworks are developed to assess and improve bus route service reliability. The reliability of a bus route is assessed by measuring variations in service characteristics, and this can be achieved through: 1) selection of performance measures, 2) evaluation of selected measures, and 3) calculation of selected measures. 16 performance measures are selected after conducting a comprehensive literature review, 12 of which are for the assessment of reliability, and 8 for service efficiency. The 16 measures are evaluated with respect to interested party (agency, operator & passenger), service type (high & low frequency service), and analysis level (stop, corridor, route & network). The assessment framework is applied to Route 1 in the City of Edmonton. Historical Route 1 performance data is collected from the Automatic Passenger Counter (APC) database of Edmonton Transit System (ETS). The overall results of estimated measures indicated that a set of performance measures can reflect reliability from every aspect. It was observed that some measures show that Route 1 is reliable, while some indicate unreliability of Route 1. It is also observed that performance of Route 1 during peak periods is worse than off-peak periods. A reliability improvement process through bus route scheduling is also introduced. A schedule-based holding strategy was tested, where early buses with slack time are hold at the timing point until scheduled departure time. In this strategy, slack time is determined from a stochastic optimization model, where the objective is to minimize schedule deviation as well as variation in schedule deviation. Slack time is incorporated into the scheduled departure time. Thus, early buses are required to depart at scheduled departure time. Besides schedule-based holding strategy, transit signal priority (TSP) is also used to improve reliability. In this study, the schedule-based holding strategy is also applied to a bus corridor that has TSP. The application of new schedules that incorporate the holding strategy on bus Route 1 along a corridor with active TSP, in simulation, appears to improve the reliability and efficiency of the bus service.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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