Pace Service Analysis Tool (SAT)

This paper describes how the transit industry has long relied on “three-variable” operating and maintenance (O&M) cost models in order to assess the cost impacts of service adjustments. However, in many respects, this traditional approach has failed its users by not recognizing many basic cost characteristics of transit agency operations including: (1) cost savings from a service reduction are typically far less than that from a comparable service increase; (2) unrecognized scheduling inefficiencies can turn low-cost labor agreements into high-cost services; (3) cost savings from service reductions can be more than offset by loss in passenger revenues; (4) “three-variable” models estimate only a portion of the costs required to cover the cost of employer subsidized services. Pace Suburban Bus’s Service Analysis Tool (SAT) was designed to provide both a comprehensive assessment of the cost and performance characteristics of a transit operator’s bus service offerings and also the means to estimate the cost, ridership, and revenue impacts of future service changes. Developed for Pace to address issues such as those outlined above, the tool moves well beyond the traditional “three-variable” O&M cost model. Specifically, it recognizes a broad range of agency operating characteristics, such as: (1) operator labor tends to adjust slowly to service decreases but more rapidly to service increases; (2) service adjustments not only impact costs; they also impact ridership and revenue; (3) while operating cost per vehicle hour varies minimally between routes, cost per revenue hour can vary widely due to differences in layover, deadhead, preparation, and pull-in/out times. Failure to recognize these issues can lead to a poor understanding of actual service costs and of the cost, ridership, revenue, and net subsidy impacts of service adjustments. This paper describes how Booz Allen and Pace staff worked together to identify specific cost issues that must be better understood by the agency and then to develop approaches to analyze these issues. These analytical capabilities are embedded in the completed SAT. The paper also describes some of the unexpected analytical results generated by the tool.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: CD-ROM
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: 6p
  • Monograph Title: Bus and Paratransit Conference and International Bus Roadeo, 2007

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01051652
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 1931594252
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jun 15 2007 12:09PM