Bus Network Design is a “Hot Trend”!

Longtime readers know I’m suspicious of “hot trends,” but it’s great to see that bus network design is finally having its moment in the limelight. The respected public policy magazine Governing has a nice feature by Daniel Vock on bus network redesign.  It happens to feature two projects that we worked on, Columbus and Houston, and it has some quotes from me, but it would be a good article even without those things.

There’s one mistake in the piece.  Vock writes, “Plus, a well-designed bus network can lead to fewer trips because riders have to transfer less to get to their destinations.”  I think he means boardings rather than completed trips, but in any case, our network designs sometimes increase transferring, even as they reduce travel time.

But it’s a good read.



4 Responses to Bus Network Design is a “Hot Trend”!

  1. Roger Hanson September 13, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

    It is good to see your firm getting the national exposure it deserves. You have definitely influenced transit design for many western cities either directly or indirectly by others using your design principles.

  2. Dave September 15, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    I agree Vock probably meant “boardings” instead of “trips” when he asserted that a well-designed network might lead to fewer trips. But perhaps he was also thinking about how a city might transform from a system in which every route goes downtown – forcing people who want to travel across town to take at least 2 boardings to complete their trip – to one in which there is more of a grid pattern – where that same person might be able to complete his/her trip on a single bus ride. If so, Vock should clarify what he meant, and reaffirm that it’s unlikely to lead to overall fewer trips even if it does result in fewer trips for a large plurality of people.

  3. jack whisner September 21, 2017 at 2:12 pm #

    Yes, a positive trend. (Note the positive correlation between transit restructure and flooding in Houston and Jacksonville).

  4. Garth MacLeod September 25, 2017 at 12:24 am #

    Hi Jarrett and other readers

    What are the best things to do after a new network has been introduced? I am particularly interested in what can, or should, be done in Auckland, New Zealand. I have written down some ideas but I am interested in people thoughts and experience.

    1) Measure changes. This could include
    – numbers riding on each line and route
    – Park N Ride Fill Times
    – number of people standing
    – number of people left behind,
    – fare intakes.
    You could monitor feedback but this will likely be tricky as people are more likely to complain about removal of a route rather than compliment about a new route.

    2) Increase existing route
    – frequency
    – span
    This could be due to a route having high use or possibly for one having low use where the extra buses will encourage use as people will then trust it.
    Are there any quotable sources for how much increasing frequency and span increases use?

    3) Add completely new routes. This is the area I would expect most debate on.
    People could debate whether
    – the new service is needed at all or
    – when it should be introduced or
    – what is the reason it should be introduced or
    – it should follow part of existing routes or be a completely new route or
    – it should be tried with low frequency because they do not think it should have high frequency as it is new.

    Really I am trying to think of a framework to “hang my hat on” when assessing this.