Impact of Unplanned Long-Term Service Disruptions on Urban Public Transit Systems

TitleImpact of Unplanned Long-Term Service Disruptions on Urban Public Transit Systems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsBaichuan Mo, Von Franque MY, Haris N. Koutsopoulos, Attanucci JP, Jinhua Zhao
JournalIEEE Open Journal of Intelligent Transportation Systems

This paper proposes a general unplanned incident analysis framework for public transit systems from the supply and demand sides using automated fare collection (AFC) and automated vehicle location (AVL) data. Specifically, on the supply side, we propose an incident-based network redundancy index to analyze the network’s ability to provide alternative services under a specific rail disruption. The impacts on operations are analyzed through the headway changes. On the demand side, the analysis takes place at two levels: aggregate flows and individual responses. We calculate the demand changes of different rail lines, rail stations, bus routes, and bus stops to better understand the passenger flow redistribution under incidents. Individual behavior is analyzed using a binary logit model based on inferred passengers’ mode choices and socio-demographics using AFC data. The public transit system of the Chicago Transit Authority is used as a case study. Two rail disruption cases are analyzed, one with high network redundancy around the impacted stations and the other with low. Results show that the service frequency of the incident line was largely reduced (by around 30%∼70%) during the incident time. Nearby rail lines with substitutional functions were also slightly affected. Passengers showed different behavioral responses in the two incident scenarios. In the low redundancy case, most of the passengers chose to use nearby buses to travel further, either to their destinations or to the nearby rail lines. In the high redundancy case, most of the passengers transferred directly to nearby bus or rail lines. The results of the individual analysis show that the increase in network redundancy can increase the probability of using transit during disruptions. This effect is more prominent for low-income passengers. Corresponding policy implications and operating suggestions are discussed.