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Coping with unreliability in public transport chains


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  • Rietveld, P.

    (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculteit der Economische Wetenschappen en Econometrie (Free University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics Sciences, Business Administration and Economitrics)

  • Bruinsma, F.R.
  • Vuuren, D.J. van


Unreliability in public transport means that actual departure and arrival times may deviate from the official timetable. Data on unreliability are usually uni-modal. In this paper we address unreliability from a multimodal perspective, implying a shift of attention away from the supplier towards the customer. Estimates of unreliability of public transport chains in the Netherlands are provided. In addition, customer valuation of unreliability is estimated. We find that the valuation of a certain travel time loss of 1 minute is 27 cents, whereas the valuation of a 50% probability of a 2 minute delay is 64 cents. This implies a strong attitude of risk aversion towards travel time of passengers. On the basis of these values an evaluation of probability enhancing strategies has been carried out. We conclude that among the most promising means of improving the overall quality of the chains is that travellers use the bicycle as an entrance or exit mode. Other measures which are relatively inexpensive to implement and result in fairly large gains for the average public transport passenger, are an increase in transfer times and a strict constraint on bus drivers to prevent them from departing early.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics in its series Serie Research Memoranda with number 0031.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:dgr:vuarem:1999-31

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  1. Bookbinder, James H. & Ahlin, Frank J., 1990. "Synchronized scheduling and random delays in urban transit," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 204-218, September.
  2. Carey, Malachy, 1994. "Reliability of interconnected scheduled services," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 79(1), pages 51-72, November.
  3. Hallowell, Susan F. & Harker, Patrick T., 1998. "Predicting on-time performance in scheduled railroad operations: methodology and application to train scheduling," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 279-295, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Bergström, Anna & Krüger, Niclas, 2013. "Modeling Passenger Train Delay Distributions - Evidence and Implications," Karlstad University Working Papers in Economics 10, Department of Economics, Karlstad University.
  2. Rietveld, P. & Bruinsma, F. R. & van Vuuren, D. J., 2001. "Coping with unreliability in public transport chains: A case study for Netherlands," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 35(6), pages 539-559, July.
  3. Arianne de Blaeij & Daniel van Vuuren, 2001. "Risk Perception of Traffic Participants," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-027/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Muhammad Sabir & Mark Koetse & Jos Van Ommeren & Piet Rietveld, 2010. "Weather and Travel Time of Public Transport Trips," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 10-029/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  5. Lam, William H.K. & Shao, Hu & Sumalee, Agachai, 2008. "Modeling impacts of adverse weather conditions on a road network with uncertainties in demand and supply," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 42(10), pages 890-910, December.
  6. Arianne de Blaeij & Daniel van Vuuren, 2001. "Risk Perception of Traffic Participants," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 01-027/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  7. Yin-Yen Tseng, 2004. "A meta-analysis of travel time reliability," ERSA conference papers ersa04p415, European Regional Science Association.


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