A new approach to exploring the operational performance of public transport links, the case of Melbourne, Australia

Katerina K Pavkova, Graham Currie, Alexa Reynolds Delbosc, Majid Sarvi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Urban congestion in cities is one of the most expensive and fastest growing global problems. Together with increasing world population and urbanisation, it is exacerbating transport performance problems in world cities. The operational performance of public transport is currently facing challenges due to patronage growth, limited capacity and the impacts of traffic congestion on on-road service reliability. The majority of public transport takes place on road and giving it priority has been seen as a logical next step in service development. However, despite the benefits of public transport priority, studies have shown that it is problematic to effectively determine where priority should be located. Current ways of evaluating urban transport congestion have been found limiting and obsolete. There is an urgent need to find new ways to understand the distribution and preferences for transit priority in order to improve the performance on on-road public transport. Lorenz Curves, and the associated Gini Coefficient parameter, have been developed in social science as a powerful tool to study income inequality. This research explores if, and how, these metrics can be re-interpreted to help with targeting improvements for on-road public transport and priority mitigations. A new concept is presented where the Lorenz Curve and Gini Coefficient are adopted as a new and original measure of public transport operational performance. The results of preliminary research applied on Melbourne’s tram network show that these metrics have the potential to demonstrate the operational performance of road based public transport routes and networks. It identifies the locations of links for targeted attention through approaches like on-road priority. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2015 Proceedings
EditorsS Travis Waller, Hanna Grzybowska, Emily Moylan, Matthew Jones, Sherri Fields
Place of PublicationSydney NSW Australia
PublisherAustralasian Transport Research Forum
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2015 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 30 Sept 20152 Oct 2015
Conference number: 37th
https://www.australasiantransportresearchforum.org.au/papers/2015 (Proceedings)


ConferenceAustralasian Transport Research Forum 2015
Abbreviated titleATRF 2015
Internet address


  • Gini coefficient
  • Lorenz Curve
  • Priority zones
  • Public transport priority
  • Transport operational performance
  • Urban transport congestion

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