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NCTR is located at the Center for Urban Transportation Research (CUTR) at the University of South Florida. CUTR is recognized as one of the country's Best Workplaces for CommutersSM      

Abstracts from the

Journal of Public Transportation

Volume 10, No. 2, 2007 

Comparing the Efficiency of Public Transportation Subunits Using Data Envelopment Analysis

Darold T. Barnum, University of Illinois at Chicago
Sue McNeil, University of Delaware
Jonathon Hart, Wilbur Smith Associates


This article discusses the need for a performance measure that compares the efficiencies of subunits within a transportation organization, reflects the diversity of inputs and outputs, and is objective and consistent. The study presents a method for developing such a performance indicator, and illustrates its use with an application to the park-and-ride lots of the Chicago Transit Authority. The proposed method applies Data Envelopment Analysis supplemented by Stochastic Frontier Analysis to estimate efficiency scores for each subunit. The research demonstrates how the scores can provide objective and valid indicators of each subunitís efficiency, while accounting for key goals and values of internal and external stakeholders. The scores can be practically applied by a transit agency to identify subunit inefficiencies, and, as demonstrated by several brief case studies, this information can be used as the basis for changes that will improve both subunit and system performance. Full text (pdf)

Investment in Mobility by Car as an Explanatory Variable for Market Segmentation

Shlomo Bekhor, TechnionĖIsrael Institute of Technology, Haifa
Alon Elgar, Mevo-Hazait, Har Adar, Israel


According to the traditional approach, when estimating changes in transportation policies, the household income level (in all its forms) is perceived as the proper explanatory variable for modeling population transportation preferences. However, it is acknowledged that accurate information about this variable is difficult to gather. In contrast, information about household car characteristics is relatively simple to collect. This article presents the hypothesis that a lifestyle variable, such as investment in mobility by car (IMC), is a viable parameter for estimating household membersí behavioral tendencies toward transportation, from both practical and conceptual reasons.

This research proposes a simple methodology to infer the IMC using existing data sources, and presents mode choice model estimation results using the IMC both as an explanatory variable and as a segmentation variable. The segmentation of the population in three IMC categories (low, middle, and high) yielded significantly different models of the preference systems for the three segments. These findings show that IMC is a viable variable for market segmentation.  Full text (pdf)

Are Printed Transit Information Materials a Significant Barrier to Transit Use?

Alasdair Cain, Center for Urban Transportation Research


This study investigated the extent to which the lack of ability to use printed transit information materials correctly to plan transit trips is a barrier to transit use. A total of 180 people were asked to undertake two transit trip-planning assignments, each requiring the use of a system map, two route maps, and two schedules.

The study found that only 52.5 percent of the sample, composed of both transit users and nonusers, was able to plan a transit trip successfully using standard printed information materials. The main problems existed at the latter stages of the trip-planning process involving schedule use (55.6% success rate). Although printed information materials were the most popular trip-planning media for transit users, more than half stated that they did not use this method to plan their trips.

Additional questioning suggested that a relationship between transit trip-planning ability and transit use does exist. However, it was also found that while lack of information material comprehension is a problem, it is not a primary barrier to transit useónone of the nontransit users cited lack of transit trip-planning ability as their main reason for not using transit. Furthermore, a wide range of other information resources is available for transit users to choose from if they are uncomfortable with printed media.  Full text (pdf)

Decision and Control Model for Promoting Public Transit via Lottery Incentives

Tang-Hsien Chang, Yih-Chiun Jiang
Department of Civil Engineering, National Taiwan University


This article reports on a decision model that highlights a reward-based promotional strategy for a bus organization to maintain its market. The market control law is obtained from an optimal solution in the system equations on the basis of the relationship among the transit operator, ticket agent, and government. The article presents a case study for the Taipei bus transit system. Results in this research confirm the effectiveness of the proposed strategy for bus operators as well as for traffic improvement. The proposed model reveals the optimal actions for the agent and bus operators under governmental policy.  Full Text (pdf)

Parcel-Level Modeling to Analyze Transit Stop Location Changes

Peter G. Furth and Maaza C. Mekuria, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University
Joseph L. SanClemente, Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc.


Because of how important walk access is for transit travel, service changes that affect walking distance, such as route or stop relocation, call for modeling at a fine enough level to accurately reflect the often arbitrary aspects of the access network and of demand distribution within a zone. Case studies of stop relocation in Boston and Albany demonstrate the feasibility of parcel-level modeling on the unabridged street network using an assessorís database. Parcel-level demand is estimated by allocating observed on/off counts as a function of a parcelís land-use type, size (e.g., gross floor area), and location factors. With actual land-use and street network data, we show how stop service areas can deviate substantially from the simple geometric shapes that follow from assuming airline or rectilinear travel, and demand distribution can be far from uniform within a zone. These factors can significantly favor particular transit stop locations. Full text (pdf)

Metro Station Operating Costs: An Econometric Analysis

Mohammed Quddus, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, UK
Nigel Harris and Daniel J Graham, Imperial College London, London, UK


This article develops an econometric analysis of metro station operating cost to identify factors that create variation in cost efficiency. Stations operating costs can be classified amongst the semifixed costs that a metro faces in the sense that they do not vary proportionately with metro output. They may therefore be important in determining the degree of returns to density. This article seeks to provide an improved understanding of some of the major factors driving these costs. Empirical results show that strong system-specific influences impact costs but over and above these we detect positive associations from a range of station characteristics, including the length of passageways, number of platforms, peak-level service frequency, interchange demand, and the provision of toilet facilities. In addition, we find that the presence of air-conditioning has a substantial effect in increasing expected station operating cost by as much as 40 percent. Full text (pdf)

Design of Feeder Route Network Using Combined Genetic Algorithm and Specialized Repair Heuristic

Prabhat Shrivastava, Sardar Patel College of Engineering, Andheri, India
Margaret OíMahony, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland


In metropolitan cities an efficient integrated public transportation system is unavoidable to restrict unsustainable growth of private and intermediate transport modes. Well-designed feeder routes and coordinated schedules to minimize transfer time from the main transit to feeder buses play an important role. Past literature reveals that a heuristic approach had been popular for design of routes and had been applied successfully in a variety of network design problems. Nontraditional optimization techniques, especially genetic algorithms, are also found to be very effective in the generation of optimized feeder routes and schedules. In this research the genetic algorithm first develops feeder routes and then a specialized heuristic algorithm works as a repair algorithm to satisfy the demand of all the nodes. Thus, the advantages of both genetic algorithms and specialized heuristic algorithms are obtained in this method. The developed feeder route structure is found to be better in terms of load factors in buses, satisfaction of demand, and waiting time for feeder buses as compared to existing scenarios and earlier approaches adopted for the same study area. Full text (pdf)



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