The current method of optimizing routes and schedules for fixed route transit systems is sequential. Typically, route planning (involving determining route path, stops and service pattern) occurs initially, followed by schedule optimization (examining factors such as vehicle availability, operating requirements, safety restrictions, union contracts and employee pay).

This sequential optimization process produces a sub-optimal overall solution, inefficiently allocating agency resources, or allocating them in a way that may not be providing transit users with the best route and service. As a result, a method that could handle both simultaneously would be unique in the industry and extremely valuable to all fixed route transit agencies and service providers. Handling the numerous variables and constraints in route and schedule planning requires a method capable of intelligently searching for solutions.

The proposed method to tackle these dual requirements is simulation-based optimization using constraint programming—which is an optimization technique where knowledge of the problem is used to reduce the solution search space based on constraints. Evaluation of the feasible solutions is proposed to be accomplished using a simulation of the transit service that would more accurately represent service performance and passenger experience, where the structure of constraint programming methods lends themselves well to parallelization—ideal for the multi-core setup of the SOSCIP platforms.

Industry Partner(s):Trapeze Group

Academic Institution:University of Toronto

Academic Researcher: Amer Shalaby

Focus Areas: Cities, Digital Media

Platforms: Cloud