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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Structure of Competitive Transit Networks

  • Author(s): Daganzo, Carlos F
  • et al.

This paper describes the network shapes and operating characteristics that allow a transit system to deliver a level of service competitive with that of the automobile. To provide exhaustive results for service regions of different sizes and demographics, the paper idealizes these regions as squares, and their possible networks with a broad and realistic family that combines the grid and the hub-and-spoke concepts. The paper also shows how to use these results to generate master plans for transit systems of real cities.

The analysis reveals which network structure and technology (Bus, BRT or Metro) delivers the desired performance with the least cost. It is found that the more expensive the system’s infrastructure the more it should tilt toward the hub-and-spoke concept. Both, Bus and BRT systems outperform Metro, even for large dense cities. And BRT competes effectively with the automobile unless a city is big and its demand low. Agency costs are always small compared with user costs; and both decline with the demand density. In all cases, increasing the spatial concentration of stops beyond a critical level increases both, the user and agency costs. Too much spatial coverage is counterproductive.

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