Is bus bunching serious in Sydney? Preliminary findings based on Opal card data analysis


By Bobby Du & Paul-Antonin Dublanche


An efficient and reliable public transit system plays an important role in mitigation of congestion and attraction of more users from private car. However, sophisticated traffic condition and dynamic travel demand often make public transit services unstable and uncertain, which results in longer waiting time especially during peak hours or special events. One common phenomenon called bus bunching (BB) or platooning usually happens when the headway between successive buses arriving at the same bus stop is less than the scheduled headway or a certain threshold. BB is a major source of congestion, which not only causes passengers’ travel time delayed and extra waiting time, but also degrades the bus operation performance. Most of the prior researches on BB were limited in a single or multiple bus lines, consequently, only a few studies were found that focused on the whole bus network in a city or even larger region. Recent advances in big data create new opportunities for exploring BB problem in a large-scale scope.

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Flexible Petrol Levy the solution to addressing congestion

SMART EduBlog- Gordon Noble – Flexible Petrol Levy- Image 1By Honorary Professorial Fellow Gordon Noble

A flexible petrol levy that rises and falls with global petrol prices, is a better way to address congestion than the cost reflective road pricing model proposed by the Harper Competition Review. Continue reading

Synchronisation of Key Travel Modes within a Transportation Hub

MichelleBy Dr Michelle Dunbar

In many modern cities, transport infrastructure has typically developed according to a radial pattern, in response to urban-sprawl. However, as the population continues to grow and spread outwards from the CBD, existing transport infrastructure may be insufficient to cope with the increased travel demand. This may in turn lead to inaccessibility to public transport for commuters in these areas, resulting in increased car usage; exacerbating traffic congestion. Continue reading

Agent-based modelling on the cloud for infrastructure planning

Rails Converging

A Sydney with smarter transport systems is becoming more possible through the work of our Research Director Pascal Perez and IT Architect Matthew Berryman. They have built a decision support tool to help transport and land planners better understand the feedback between changes in land use and changes to Sydney’s transportation networks.

A key component of the model is a synthetic population. “We have their age, income, any preferred travel modes because we’re interested in transport, where they live where they work, We can put in where they like to shop”, says Matthew.

But there’s no need to get nervous about individual privacy: “We do work with the individual records from transport, actual people’s information, but we then turn into what is called ‘synthetic population’. We’re not actually dealing with real people, it’s dealing with a representation of people that, in a way, matches the properties of the population. We don’t actually have Joe Bloggs in there, age 31, but we have a certain number of people in the 30-35 age bracket with a certain amount of income, living in certain areas.”

The tool is not about providing a predictive model, but a model to explore the tipping points of the system, and to gain insights into human behaviour under different scenarios. These scenarios may range from different forecast populations to different transportation options, like a metro rail system, more frequent buses or more light rail.

To explore the different scenarios, and provide an understanding of the variability of these tipping points, the simulation must be run multiple times. Because of this, and the integration of different software components (including the model software, database, statistical processing software), the model is packaged up and deployed to a private cloud that SMART, in conjunction with UOW Information Technology Services, funded and built to provide IT infrastructure to this and other projects (for example, Map Jakarta).