Topic 2 Public Transport Stops Planning

  • The dominant goal in designing a public transport system is to attract as many passengers as possible. In order to achieve this, the main characteristics of the network that affect the quality of public transport services and thus the attraction of passengers are defined. These are:
    • coverage of the area by public transport stops
    • travel speed
    • line attractiveness
    • direct travel
  • It is necessary to consider the convenience and attractiveness for travellers through: simplicity, connectivity and easy transfers
  • Stops are places where passengers make a request for transport and have access to the public transport network. Stops affect the overall operational speed of means of transport, and the number and layout (distribution) of stops along the line have a major impact on:
    • speed,
    • travel time,
    • increasing the level of service,
    • operating costs
  • The location of the stop is a very important aspect of planning a fast public city transport system

Source: (November 2021)

  • Planning the optimal location for the public transport stop must include quantitative and qualitative factors. The main goals in planning the location of the public transport stop are:
    • to serve large centers at transfer points with other lines
    • to offer coverage of the area
    • to attract maximum number of passengers
    • to achieve minimum system cost
    • to meet the requirements of combined transfer, economic development and population needs
  • It is also important to plan and determine the distances between the stops on the line. The quality of customer service and the speed of the transport mean on the line significantly depends on the distance between two stops. When deciding how many stops should be on a line, it is important to keep in mind that a stop generates a loss of time due to:
    • braking when approaching a public station stop,
    • embarkation and disembarkation of passengers,
    • re-acceleration of the vehicle until the average vehicle speed is reached
  • The actual speed of the vehicle and the spatial distance between the stops determines how many stops there will be on each line. The goal of determining the distance between stops is to reduce the travel time of passengers. If the stops are set closer, the walking legth for the passengers will be shorter and the driving time longer.
  • The stops are established on a places where there is a big flow of passengers or on most „popular” destinations, such as:
    • railway and intercity bus stations
    • hospitals, school, large companies, institutions, etc.
  • Stops can be:
    • permanent (vehicles must stop on them regardless of whether or not there are passengers for entry or exit; they are mostly located in an urban area), or
    • temporary or as needed (vehicles stops on them only if there are passengers for entry or exit; located in a suburban area with a lower frequency of passengers)
  • Minimizing the total travel time is the dominant goal and affects the choice of mode of transport compared to the options offered. Theoretical analysis of optimal travel time distances and coverage of stops by the area are important elements in planning public transport lines. Passenger travel time consists of:
    • walking time to or from the stop
    • waiting time for the vehicle,
    • waiting time for entry and exit of passengers
    • driving time

Diagram of passenger travel time as a function of stop density

Source: Štefančić, G.: Urban Transport Technology II, University of Zagreb Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, Zagreb, 2010.

Tp – passenger travel time (travel/hour)

tv- travel time

tpj – walking from and to the stop

g* – optimal stop density for minimum travel time

g – stop density (stop/kilometer)

Assuming that the number of passengers on a line is constant (meaning there are no transfers) an increase in stop density results in a decrease in the average walking distance and waiting time for the mean of transport. Driving time increases due to stopping at stops. Initially, the increase is linear (each stop adds a fixed delay time). When the distances between stops become so short that the means of transport cannot reach the maximum permitted driving speed, the additional delay per stop increases, thus increasing the driving time and thus the total travel time.

Diagram of walking distance by type of public transport service

Source: Štefančić, G.: Urban Transport Technology II, University of Zagreb Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences, Zagreb, 2010. [5]

A – walking to street public transport

B – walking to metro

C – walking to regional railway

  • Other goals when choosing a location for a stop also require some attention when planning public city transportation. These are:
    • coverage of the area – very important goal when designing a network because the use of the transport system depends on the ability of passengers to easily reach the stop
    • attraction of passengers – factors influencing passenger attraction are transport speed and travel time
    • cost of public transport stops – each stop requires a certain investment cost for the construction and operating cost, which includes the operation and maintenance of the stop, and the necessary signalling and devices for visual information of passengers
    • car versus public transport
    • local destinations
  • The basic problem when planning a public transport stop is how to ensure high speeds without compromising the coverage of the area. On some lines, this can be achieved by skipping stops. When the line offers high frequency services, skipping stops allows short time intervals between stops, while the transport speed remains high.
  • Planning a public transport stop always faces dilemmas, such as:
    • shorter distances between stops result in better coverage of the area and thus easier accessibility for more potential passengers but at the same time, short distances cause lower transport speeds and possible higher fleet requirements, as well as higher construction costs and maintaining a position
    • longer distances result in contradictions: – high traffic speed is achieved but the profit is lost because the means of transport do not serve the stops and a part of potential passengers is lost.
    • The main conclusion is that the equilibrium must be determined based on the specifics of the target area in which the public transport system is to be introduced or optimized