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Open Access Publications from the University of California

High Coverage Point to Point Transit (HCPPT): A New Design Concept and Simulation-Evaluation of Operational Schemes

  • Author(s): Cortés, Cristián Eduardo
  • et al.

This dissertation research proposes the development and evaluation of a new concept for high coverage point-to-point transit systems (HCPPT). Overall, three major contributions can be identified as the core of this research: the proposed scheme design, the development of sophisticated routing rules that can be updated in real-time to implement and optimize the operation of such a design, and the implementation of a multi-purpose simulation platform in order to simulate and evaluate such a design under real network conditions.

The design is based on Shuttle-style operations with a large number of deployed vehicles under a coordinated transit system that uses advanced information supply schemes with fast routing and optimization schemes. The system design is rather innovative and ensures that no more than one transfer is needed for the travelers, by using transfer hubs as well as reroutable and non-reroutable portions in the vehicles’ travel plans. It yields flexibility for demand-side benefits from options such as price incentives for time-bound “passenger-pooling” at the stops without destination constraints, by the users.

A strict optimization formulation and solution for such a problem is computationally prohibitive in real-time. The design proposed in this dissertation is effectively geared towards a decomposed solution using detailed rules for achieving vehicle selection and route planning. If real-time update of probabilities based upon modeling the future dispatch decisions is included, then this scheme can be considered as a form of quasi-optimal predictive-adaptive control problem.

Finally, a multi-purpose simulation platform is developed as part of this research in order to evaluate the performance of the system. The final simulations of HCPPT required point-to-point vehicle simulation, which is not possible with off-the-shelf simulators. The simulation framework uses a well-known microscopic traffic simulator that was significantly modified for demand-responsive vehicle movements and passenger tracking. A simulated case study in Orange County showed that with enough deployed vehicles, the system can be substantially better, even competitive with personal auto travel, compared to the often-unsuccessful traditional DRT systems and the existing fixed route public transit. Furthermore, HCPPT can be incrementally implemented by contracting out services to existing private operators.

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