Passenger Arrival Rates at Pubilc Transportation

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PASSENGER ARRIVAL RATES AT PUBLIC TRANSPORT STATIONS Marco Luethi (corresponding author), Ulrich Weidmann, Andrew Nash Institute for Transport Planning and Systems ETH Zurich Switzerland October 26, 2006 Telephone: +41 44 633-2415 Fax: +41 44 633-1057 E-Mail: 4129 words + 7 figures + 2 tables = 6379 words

ABSTRACT The amount of time spent waiting at a public transport station is a key element in a passenger’s assessment of service quality and in mode choice decisions. Many transport models estimate the average wait time is half the headway for small headways and use a maximum waiting time for headways over a given value. The assumption is that at small headways passengers do not bother to consult schedules since vehicles arrive frequently; therefore these passengers arrive regularly at the station. In contrast, at longer headways passengers do consult schedules to reduce their waiting time; these passengers arrive clustered around the departure time. This research evaluated the influence of headway and other factors on passenger arrival rates at public transport stations based on data collected at 28 stations in Zurich’s public transport network. It found that even at 5-minute headways, some passengers consulted schedules and did not arrive randomly at the station. This finding is interesting since 5-minutes is much lower than many models assume, therefore these models may be overstating passenger wait time. The research also found time-of-day and reliability had an important influence on passenger arrival rates. The research proposes a model for passenger arrival rates at stations that combines a uniform distribution with a shifted Johnson SB distribution.

Luethi, M., U. Weidmann and A. Nash


PASSENGER ARRIVAL RATES AT PUBLIC TRANSPORT STATIONS 1. INTRODUCTION Passenger arrival rates at public transport stations are important for two main reasons. First, passenger arrival rates determine passenger waiting time which is an important factor in the attractiveness of public transport. Second, the passenger arrival distribution impacts public transport network stability; specifically, large variations in passenger arrivals at stops can create schedule instability by delaying transit vehicles. Public transport headway has been found to be one of the most important influences on passenger arrival rates and therefore the goal of this research project was to study the impact of headway on passenger arrival rates especially as several previous studies are relatively old. Passenger arrival rates at stations can be described in terms of distribution curves. These curves plot the cumulative arrival of all passengers at the station. They can be used for travel models and microscopic simulations as well as an input for the vehicle dispatching process (to increase schedule stability). Two basic types of distributions are utilized: macroscopic distributions describe daily variations whereas microscopic distributions describe the variation between two consecutive service departures. This research focuses on microscopic distributions. New information technology and consumer electronics have significantly increased a passenger’s ability to obtain schedule information shortly before beginning travel. This should have an impact on passenger arrival patterns and the use of public transport. (1) (2) (3) These new influences as well as changing behavior patterns and habits since the earlier research, suggest that basic research on passenger arrival patterns should be pursued. This research can provide important data for both public transport operations management (simulation) and planning (modeling). The research project consisted of collecting data on passenger arrivals at stations with different public transport frequencies. Additionally, passengers were surveyed regarding their impressions of service qualities (reliability) and their travel purpose. Section 2 of the paper...
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