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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comprehensive Transit Performance Indicators


Transit properties increasingly provide multiple modes of transit service, creating a need for intermodal transit performance indicators. Transit performance indicators currently in use do not have the capability of comparing the performance of different modes. In addition, most indicators in current use incorporate only operating costs, while for many transit modes capital costs constitute a significant proportion of total costs. The research conducted reviewed the use of performance indicators by urban transit properties in California, and found that the most common measures in use are operating cost per revenue vehicle hour, operating cost per passenger boarding, farebox revenue per operating cost, passenger boardings per revenue vehicle mile, and passenger boardings per revenue vehicle hour. Three critical limitations to commonly used performance indicators are identified, and new intermodal performance indicators are proposed which overcome the limitations of current single mode indicators by incorporating mechanisms for comparisons of one mode to another, for rating the performance of systems which include multiple nodes, and by incorporating both capital and operating costs. The proposed comprehensive transit performance indicators are total cost per revenue capacity kilometer, total cost per revenue capacity hour, total cost per passenger kilometer, passenger revenue per total cost, passenger kilometers per revenue capacity kilometer, and passenger kilometer per revenue capacity hour.

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