General service characteristics

General Service characteristics

Description / objective

The over-arching goals set for the general service characteristics of an urban passenger transport system are its geographic areas of coverage (not necessarily coincident with political or local government boundaries), and the quality of service to be provided (in respect of attributes such as network and vehicle accessibility, service reliability, frequency and hours of operation, and customer-facing services).

The former may raise cross-jurisdictional issues, especially with regard to financial support for infrastructure and operations. The latter has well-developed sets of definitions and standards, such as those of the US DoT / Transportation Research Board’s Transit Co-operative Research Program; however it must always be recognized that there is a trade-off between the quality of service and the cost of its provision.

ITS applications

Where the Quality of Service standards are reflected in operational contracts, then assessment of performance and monitoring of service-contract compliance may be assisted by ITS technologies such as automatic vehicle location.

Advantages and cautions

Service assessment should not just be mechanistic, and provision should also be made for effective customer feedback as to the appropriateness of the standards and the priorities for improvement.