A Robust Optimization Approach to Public Transit Mobile Real-time Information
In the past few years, numerous mobile applications have made it possible for public transit passengers to find routes and learn about the expected arrival times of their transit vehicles. Previous studies show that provision of accurate real-time bus information is vital to passengers for reducing their anxieties and wait times at bus stops. Inadequate and/or inaccurate real-time information not only confuses passengers but also reinforces the bad image of public transit. However, almost all methods of real-time information optimization are aimed at predicting bus arrival or travel times. In order to make up for the lack of information accuracy, this paper proposes a new approach to optimize mobile real-time information for each transit route based on robust linear optimization. An error estimation is added to current bus arrival time information as a new element of mobile bus applications. The proof process of the robust optimization model is also presented in this paper. In the end, the model is tested on two comparable bus routes in Shanghai. The real-time information for these two routes was obtained from Shanghai Bus, a mobile application used in Shanghai City. The test results reflect the validity, disadvantages, and risk costs of the model.
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