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Evaluating public transit services for operational efficiency and access equity

Ran Wei, Xiaoyue Liu, Yongjian Mu, Liming Wang, Aaron Golub and Steven Farber

Journal of Transport Geography, 2017, vol. 65, issue C, 70-79

Abstract: Assessing the performance of public transit services has long been an important yet challenging issue for transportation agencies and researchers. Transit service performance measurement reflects a very first step towards an efficient and proactive management, where public transit agencies are increasingly pressured to provide high-quality services in spite of constrained resources. However, the performance evaluation of transit services is complicated by an array of quantitative measures available to assess the goals and the diversity in the goals themselves, which usually include improving operational efficiency and providing equitable access. While much previous work has examined public transit services for achieving optimal operational efficiency and/or access equity separately, the interplay of the two has rarely been investigated to date. This article proposes a new method for evaluating the overall performance of public transit services via a combination of data envelopment analysis (DEA), Geographic Information System (GIS), and multi-objective spatial optimization techniques. The new method is applied to assessing the performance of fixed route bus services operated by the Utah Transit Authorities (UTA) in the Wasatch Front, Utah. Results demonstrate that the proposed method can effectively account for operational efficiency and access equity in an integrated framework, providing a more comprehensive assessment for transit service performance.

Date: 2017
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