Service planning and specification
Service Planning and Specification
Description / objective
Service planning and specification is based on the level of passenger demand, current and forecast, and its assignment to the network in an iterative process that ultimately results in an optimal plan. It will define routes and stops, specify vehicle types, schedule services, synchronize these for effective interchange, and prepare detailed running timetables; this service specification can, in turn, be used for forecasting revenues and costs and identifying viability.
A similar process is carried out in real-time for planning and routing of demand responsive transport, and on a selective basis for travel-management programs.
Electronic fare collection systems may provide boarding and alighting data for stops along a route, and hence evidence of the level of carryings on specific links, depending on the method used for travel validation. Reliable service scheduling can also be greatly facilitated by analysis of data on commercial speeds over the links composing the route obtained from automatic vehicle location technologies. Finally, surveillance equipment can also be used to identify capacity constraints in the service offer, and appropriate in-vehicle data capture can identify overloading on route segments, both of which would allow for fine-tuning of the service offer.
Advantages and cautions
A statistical analysis of commercial speeds and their variability can result in schedules that display a high probability of reliability without recourse to wasteful “schedule recovery” allowances.