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Stop consolidation and reduced boarding time concepts could save a single route 8.5 hours a day and $180,000 a year.

Pilot study in Portland, Oregon uses trip time model to project more frequent service and shorter trip times at a lower cost.

Date Posted

Modeling Transit Trip Time Using Archived Bus Dispatch System Data

Summary Information

Transit travel time and operating speed influence service attractiveness, operating cost, and system efficiency. The objective of this research paper was to estimate the values of parameters that affect the total travel time for a particular bus route in Portland, Oregon.


A pilot study was carried out to estimate the values of parameters that affect the total travel time for a bus route in Portland, Oregon. The researchers used a trip time model to provide heightened understanding of the factors that affect transit trip time to further assist with better decision-making and performance assessment. The route chosen for this study was a 7.9-mile segment of TriMet’s Route 14 westbound. This is a heavily used inbound route that runs through southeast Portland toward downtown during the morning commute period. The Bus Dispatch System (BDS) utilized by TriMet as part of its overall service control and management system provided a rich array of archived data that was used to help develop the model.

  • Eliminating 10 of the 64 stops along Route 14 and relocating the remaining stops reduced the trip time of a single vehicle by 4.3 minutes. (26s/stop x 10 stops).
  • With 105 trips traveling in the inbound direction each day, the daily savings could be up to 452 minutes, or 7.5 hours.
  • This savings could allow approximately 10 additional trips to be added, which would drop the mean headway from 11.4 to 10.4 minutes. This improved service and shorter trip time could lead to increased ridership and an associated increase in fare box revenue.
  • Improvements in the boarding area configurations and in the ticketing system also could shed up to a second off of mean passenger board time, bringing it down to 2.6 seconds.
  • This could translate into savings of about 57 minutes/day of service.
  • Stop consolidation and reduced boarding time concepts together, could save the transit agency 509 minutes or 8.5 hours per day on inbound 14 alone.
  • Assuming it costs the transit agency around $60/vehicle for an hour of service, this could add up to more than $180,000 a year in savings just for the inbound route.
Expanding this approach to both route directions and to the other 96 routes could have profound effects on transit in the Portland metropolitan area.
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