Identifying Opportunities to Alleviate Bus Delay

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Posted 2/17

Reliable bus transportation provides mobility, access, and livability benefits to residents throughout the Boston region and improves transportation capacity on congested roadways. However, delays in bus service diminish these benefits. Upgrades to infrastructure, such as more efficient fare-collection equipment as well as operational improvements, such as increasing the effectiveness of scheduling practices, could decrease bus delay. In turn, this could improve on-time performance, reduce travel time for passengers, and make transit a more attractive travel mode. Using a variety of data sources, the Central Transportation Planning Staff analyzed these factors and developed solutions tailored to address the specific causes of delay.

This report investigates factors that lead to increased dwell time at bus stops by estimating the amount of time contributed by each fare payment type and by the boardings and on-board presence of baby carriages, wheeled mobility devices, and portable shopping carts. It also assesses the potential of various operational and scheduling improvements—such as the scheduling of interlines, deadhead movements, garage pull-outs, supplemental trips, bus operator swing ons, and early pull-up opportunity—to alleviate bus delay.

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