Simulation approach for an integrated decision support system for demand responsive transport planning and operation

By Dias, A.; Telhada, J.; Carvalho, M.S.

10th International Industrial Simulation Conference 2012, ISC 2012

2012

Abstract

Rural areas are becoming more desert from day to day, leading to complex dispersed and scarce demand patterns for public transport. As a consequence, conventional transport services are becoming less frequent, reducing levels of service (e.g., low occupancy rates, usage of old vehicles). With rigid predefined routes and schedules, they are inappropriate to operate in such environments. Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) systems have been seen as an interesting alternative solution, providing flexible transport services to meet trip requests. This solution has already been adopted in several countries as a way to increase user’s mobility and mitigate social exclusion. There are however some issues concerning DRT scheme design and evaluation requiring further developments. Namely, there is still a lack of adequate tools to support some of the strategic and tactic level decisions that must be made at the design phase. In this research, we propose an Integrated Decision Support System (IDSS) and general action methodology that will allow achieving better planning decisions and allowing the evaluation of alternative scheme designs prior to its implementation. The IDSS and methodology are based on an event-driven simulation framework which emulates real-world customers’ behavior and vehicles movements. The paper will concentrate its analysis on this framework. An illustrative numerical experiment is presented and briefly discussed.

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