Performance Optimization of Public Transport Using Integrated AHP–GP Methodology

The State Road Transport Undertakings (SRTUs) are the economic providers of mass transport in India. The institutional constraints imposed on the SRTUs result in low productivity and inefficiency. In this fiercely competitive environment, the state-owned public transport industry cannot operate sustainably, showing mediocre performance. With relatively scarce financial resources, high political expectations, and competition between operators, the efficiency and performance of the industry must be improved by optimizing the available resources. In this study, an integrated analytical hierarchy process–goal programming technique considering both operators’ and users’ perceptions is used for performance optimization. The methodology starts with the selection of various performance indicators, considering both operators’ and users’ perceptions. The decision variables are then categorized into user-oriented and operator-oriented. The analytical hierarchy process (AHP), a multicriteria decision-making tool, is then used to evaluate the decision variables and calculate their weights to be used as penalties in goal programming (GP). Pairwise comparison of decision variables on the AHP rating scale was carried out by experts associated with bus transportation and academia. This was used to assign weights to the variables to denote their priority based on their importance. Then, these weights were assigned to the objective function of the GP problem to find a solution that minimizes the weighted sum of deviations from the goal values. As a case study, performance optimization of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation was undertaken. Twelve decision variables were identified, by taking into account both user and operator perceptions, viz. controllable costs, noncontrollable costs, taxes, staff per bus ratio (fleet operated), safety, accessibility, regularity, load factor, fleet utilization, percentage of dead kilometers to effective kilometers, journey speed, and percentage of cancelled kilometers to scheduled kilometers. The perceived importance of each of these decisive factors from both the users’ and operators’ perspectives was obtained from the experts and prioritized using the AHP. The results indicated that operator cost and staff per schedule were the most important variables for the operators, while safety of travel had the highest weighting according to the users’ perceptions. The optimal solution indicated that increasing the accessibility, safety, and regularity would attract passengers to public transport, which would in turn improve the load factor and influence operators to maximize fleet utilization and reduce cancellation of schedules. Moreover, the solution also suggested that decreasing the staff per bus would further reduce the operating cost. Furthermore, sensitivity analysis was carried out to identify the impact of variations in the decision variables on the performance of the system. The presented method could be used for performance evaluation and optimization of urban rail, metro, and various other public transport systems.


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  • Accession Number: 01712989
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 15 2019 3:09PM