Geographic information system-system dynamics procedure for bus rapid transit ridership estimation

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Galicia, L. D. and Cheu, R. L. (2013), Geographic information system‐system dynamics procedure for bus rapid transit ridership estimation. J. Adv. Transp., 47: 266-280. doi:10.1002/atr.1188


This paper presents a two‐step procedure for estimating the total daily ridership (TDR) of a new bus rapid transit (BRT) route that runs along a corridor without a competing regular bus service. The first step of the procedure uses the Geographic Information System‐Business Analyst desktop to analyze and extract the total population, employed population, housing units within ¼ mile and ¼ to ½ mile from the BRT stations in the base year, and their respective annual growth rates. These values are then used as inputs into the second step. The second step of the procedure uses a simulation model constructed by the system dynamics approach. This simulation model, which embeds the known relationships between the demographic variables and proposed BRT system's infrastructure and operational features, initially estimates the TDR of the base year. Simulation is then performed to estimate the TDR from the base year until a future year defined by the user. The two‐step procedure has been validated with actual demographic and ridership data from the Las Vegas MAX BRT line and the Los Angeles Orange Line, respectively. The procedure has also been applied to the proposed BRT route along Mesa St. in El Paso, Texas, as a case study. The two‐step procedure offers a new and relatively simple approach that complements the three known BRT ridership estimation methods currently acceptable by the U.S. Federal Transit Administration.