Document Type


Date of Award

Summer 8-31-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Transportation - (Ph.D.)


Civil and Environmental Engineering

First Advisor

I-Jy Steven Chien

Second Advisor

Athanassios K. Bladikas

Third Advisor

Janice Rhoda Daniel

Fourth Advisor

Joyoung Lee

Fifth Advisor

Lazar Spasovic


With the capability to transport a large number of passengers, public transit acts as an important role in congestion reduction and energy conservation. However, the quality of transit service, in terms of accessibility and reliability, significantly affects model choices of transit users. Unreliable service will cause extra wait time to passengers because of headway irregularity at stops, as well as extra recovery time built into schedule and additional cost to operators because of ineffective utilization of allocated resources.

This study aims to optimize service planning and improve reliability for a fixed bus route, yielding maximum operator’s profit. Three models are developed to deal with different systems. Model I focuses on a feeder transit route with many-to-one demand patterns, which serves to prove the concept that headway variance has a significant influence on the operator profit and optimal stop/headway configuration. It optimizes stop spacing and headway for maximum operator’s profit under the consideration of demand elasticity. With a discrete modelling approach, Model II optimizes actual stop locations and dispatching headway for a conventional transit route with many-to-many demand patterns. It is applied for maximizing operator profit and improving service reliability considering elasticity of demand with respect to travel time. In the second model, the headway variance is formulated to take into account the interrelationship of link travel time variation and demand fluctuation over space and time. Model III is developed to optimize the number and locations of time points with a headway-based vehicle controlling approach. It integrates a simulation model and an optimization model with two objectives - minimizing average user cost and minimizing average operator cost. With the optimal result generated by Model II, the final model further enhances system performance in terms of headway regularity.

Three case studies are conducted to test the applicability of the developed models in a real world bus route, whose demand distribution is adjusted to fit the data needs for each model. It is found that ignoring the impact of headway variance in service planning optimization leads to poor decision making (i.e., not cost-effective). The results show that the optimized headway and stops effectively improve operator’s profit and elevate system level of service in terms of reduced headway coefficient of variation at stops. Moreover, the developed models are flexible for both planning of a new bus route and modifying an existing bus route for better performance.



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