Institute for Transport Studies

DFG Research Unit: Integrated Planning for Public Transportation
TP 6: Impact of disruptions on passengers and operations

  • contact:

    Prof. Dr.-Ing. Peter Vortisch
    Dipl.-Ing. Sebastian Buck
    M.Sc. Lars Briem

  • project group:

    DFG FOR 2083

  • funding:

    Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

  • Partner:

    Universität Göttingen
    TU Dortmund
    RWTH Aachen
    KIT - ITI
    Universität Stuttgart
    Universität Halle-Wittenberg

  • startdate:


  • enddate:


This project is part of the research unit FOR 2083 "Integrated Planning for Public Transportation".

Disruptions in public transportation operations will be studied in this project from three sides:

Firstly, the impact of disruptions on the behavior of travelers is estimated using a stated preference survey. The survey will be conducted as computer assisted personal interviews, and the choice situations are generated from trips actually reported from the interviewed persons. From the responses decision models for mode choice and connection choice will be developed including the value of reliability of the public transportation supply. Additionally the reaction of travelers to different disruption scenarios is surveyed.

Secondly, an empirical study is undertaken on which disruptions happen how often in an urban public transportation system (busses and light rail). In a first step, the archive data of an intermodal transport control system of an urban public transport operator is analyzed over a longer period. Based on this analysis, several lines that are prone to disruptions are studied in depth for several operation days by having detailed operation protocols collected by surveyors riding on the train or bus. Thus the actual causes for the disruptions can be determined. The knowledge acquired that way about the frequency of certain disruption types are then used for the third aspect of the project:

The public transportation operation in a large urban network will be simulated microscopically including typical disruptions, i.e. the movement of all public transport vehicles on tracks and in road traffic will be simulated individually. For the simulation the transportation network is modeled in a commercial traffic flow simulator. The functionality of the simulator is then extended using the application programming interface to control the operation of the vehicles and the trip chains of the passengers in detail and to implement the disruption scenarios. Within the simulation the impact of disruptions on the trips of the passengers can be determined and then assessed using the results of the stated preference survey. The developed simulation system can be used to assess the quality of a public transportation supply system (line network, time tables, vehicle scheduling) and its capability to cope with disruptions.