Travel times and transfers in public transport: Comprehensive accessibility analysis based on Pareto-optimal journeys

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Efficient public transport (PT) networks are vital for well-functioning and sustainable cities. Compared to other modes of transport, PT networks feature inherent systemic complexity due to their schedule-dependence and network organization. Because of this, efficient PT network planning and management calls for advanced modeling and analysis tools. These tools have to take into account how people use PT networks, including factors such as demand, accessibility, trip planning and navigability. From the PT user perspective, the common criteria for planning trips include waiting times to departure, journey durations, and the number of required transfers. However, waiting times and transfers have typically been neglected in PT accessibility studies and related decision-support tools. Here, we tackle this issue by introducing a decision-support framework for PT planners and managers, based on temporal networks methodology. This framework allows for computing pre-journey waiting times, journey durations, and number of required transfers for all Pareto-optimal journeys between any origin–destination pair, at all points in time. We visualize this information as a temporal distance profile, covering any given time interval. Based on such profiles, we define the best-case, mean, and worst-case measures for PT travel time and number of required PT vehicle boardings, and demonstrate their practical utility to PT planning through a series of accessibility case studies. By visualizing the computed measures on a map and studying their relationships by performing an all-to-all analysis between 7463 PT stops in the Helsinki metropolitan region, we show that each of the measures provides a different perspective on accessibility. To pave the way towards more comprehensive understanding of PT accessibility, we provide our methods and full analysis pipeline as free and open source software.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41–54
Number of pages14
JournalComputers Environment and Urban Systems
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Transit
  • Routing
  • Temporal distance profile
  • Temporal network
  • GTFS
  • OpenStreetMap

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