Nearly 60% of commuters would choose public transit if bus and metro modes are available: IISc

A file photo of commuters boarding a BMTC bus at the Mysuru Road metro station.

A key finding from research conducted by the Indian Institute of Science’s Centre for Infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) to improve the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation’s planning and operations has revealed that if buses and metro are made available, nearly 60% of commuters would choose public transit.

A key finding in a research booklet that was released recently on the topic of ridership and revenue forecasting models for bus transit agencies states, ”Our survey data indicates that at least 30% of current metro travellers use bus (in combination w/ metro) on their trips. An additional 15% of metro travellers use other non-walking modes to reach metro stations. On the other hand, the vast majority (95%) of current bus travellers reach bus stops by walk.”

It further added that if bus and metro modes are made available to all surveyed individuals within distances of up to 1 km and 4 km, respectively, its simulations indicate that nearly 60% of them would choose public transit (bus, bus + metro, or metro).

“Reducing travel costs by ride-hailing to transit stations would not help attract many transit riders. The key is in making transit stops/ stations more accessible to travel origins and destinations,” the finding states.

Ridership and revenue

On another topic of ridership and revenue forecasting, a key finding has revealed that on medium-to-high-frequency routes, BMTC will gain more ridership and passenger kilometres by decreasing headway variance (i,e., increasing service reliability) than increasing service frequency.

It also found that bus routes with high overlap with metro lines lose riders to the metro. However, feeder services and routes with some overlap with metro lines can help both BMTC and metro.

“Our models can be used to determine the extent of beneficial overlap for different levels of demand and supply,” the findings state.

Bus priority lanes

On the topic of bus priority lanes in Bengaluru, a study on its effectiveness and driver stress, CiSTUP, has found that there is a significant improvement in travel times after the introduction of the lanes.

“For the worst 10% of the travel times, we find an improvement between 4% and 28%. Drivers are generally more stressed during the morning peak hours and during the southward trips on the lane,” the study says.

In total, CiSTUP faculty presented 10 different BMTC-centric research projects, which included topics like bus operations optimisation such as bus bunching control, electric bus fleet planning and heavy vehicle simulator-based safety research.

A workshop was held on October 11 to discuss the research conducted by CiSTUP faculty and their partners to improve BMTC planning and operations.

Collaborative effort

Abdul Pinjari, Chair,  CiSTUP, said, “Research and impact reinforce each other, and CiSTUP faculty take this as a guiding principle. Their projects have resulted in important findings and decision-support tools that can potentially be used to aid BMTC’s planning and operations. Our faculty are looking forward to taking their research to the field in collaboration with BMTC.”

BMTC Managing Director G. Sathyavathi said the transport corporation is eager to collaborate with CiSTUP faculty to translate their research into implementable solutions.


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