PI: Sean Qian
University: Carnegie Mellon University

Public transportation offers shared transportation service and plays a pivotal role in regional economic develop. Efficient, reliable, and sustainable public transportation service would help boost local business, re-shape cities with environmentally friendly and dense land-use, and ultimately support smart and connected communities. The Port Authority of Allegheny County provides public transportation services in Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh via 97 bus routes, two light rail lines, and two inclined planes. Most of these routes are operated as a hub and spoke model, with the majority of the transit services connecting near downtown Pittsburgh. Recent decline in total ridership in the Allegheny County has had a negative impact on financing and planning transit services.

This research will help the Port Authority of Allegheny County understand:

  1. how future investment or reorganization of services towards routes with frequent service could affect its ridership
  2. the spatial distribution of jobs, population and local business that transit riders can access through a Frequent Transit Service Network (FTSN)

This PITA project will use high-resolution automatic passenger counters (APC) and autonomic vehicle location (AVL) technology, coupled with traffic data on roadway and Census data, to design a Frequent Transit Service Network (FTSN) for Allegheny County, given a limited budget. The total estimated service cost, social benefits, and financial benefits will be computed and provided for each frequent route selected for the FTSN. In addition, additional service routes will be suggested to connect those pairs of traffic analysis zones which do not currently provide a direct service route while being potentially critical for increasing total ridership. A prototype web application will be developed to visualize the recommended FTS in details.