Improving Urban Bus Operations

by Michael G. Ferreri, (M.ASCE), Partner, Simpson & Curtin; Transp. Engrs., Philadelphia, PA,

Serial Information: Transportation Engineering Journal of ASCE, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 3, Pg. 319-331

Document Type: Journal Paper


To lower costs and increase routing flexibility, most operations now favor long-lived diesel-powered buses over electric trolleys. The few vehicle innovations otherwise attempted, such as size variations, anti-air pollution devices, containment of production monopolies, and rider amenities, are limited in meeting the principal financial stress of increasing cost of labor coupled with declining revenue. Fare changes have predictable limits: upward to 25¢, revenue gains offset passenger losses; higher rates create both revenue and riding losses; free transit service is deemed unproductive of revenue and ridership benefits. Convenience of service; increase speed, eliminate the need to transfer, and enhance passenger comfort, remains the most likely, and largely untried area of urban operations improvements. Possibilities include installation of bus shelters, operation of express buses, and preferential treatment of bus transportation such as transit streets, exclusive bus lanes, preferential signal timing, bus-actuated traffic signals, and rapid busways.

Subject Headings: Buses | Revenues | Traffic signals | Urban areas | Passengers | Petroleum | Innovation | Pollution

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