Evaluating the Use of Transfers for Improving Demand Responsive Systems Adopting Zoning Strategies

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L. Quadrifoglio, C. Shen, A.S. Edrington

Publication Date:

August 2011


Due to widely dispersed population density over large and sparsely suburban/rural areas, conventional fixed route transit services hardly satisfy the travel needs of their residents. As an alternative, demand responsive transit (DRT) systems have flexible routes and schedules that can provide curb-to-curb/door-to-door services to better meet the needs of rural areas. However, rural DRT services are still extremely costly to operate. In this project researchers consider a variation of the regular demand responsive transit system that adopts the transfer practice to reduce operating costs. This practice has been adopted by some agencies with zoning rules for the whole service area or trips that need to cross jurisdictional districts; however, the pros and cons need to be carefully assessed. Researchers evaluated the effect of different transfer operating policies by developing a simulation model of several plausible scenarios. Available data from Houston METRO were used for testing and modeling purpose. The results indicate that zoning with transfer can provide significant benefits to paratransit operations that are managing zoning structure. However, no-zoning strategies, such as the one currently used by Houston METRO performs better overall on average in terms of efficiency. This study provides decision makers and DRT agencies with information for innovative operating practices to improve the performance and cost efficiency of public transportation systems.

Report Number:

UTCM 10-60-59


Paratransit; Transfer; Mix-inter programming; Coordinated system; Simulation; Zoning

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