Identifying Spatial–Temporal Characteristics and Significant Factors of Bus Bunching Based on an eGA and DT Model

Min Yan, Binglei Xie, Gangyan Xu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Bus bunching is a common phenomenon caused by irregular bus headway, which increases the passenger waiting time, makes the passenger capacity uneven, and severely reduces the reliability of bus service. This paper clarified the process of bus bunching formation, analyzed the variation characteristics of bus bunching in a single day, in different types of periods, and at different bus stops, then concluded twelve potential factors. A hybrid model integrating a genetic algorithm with elitist preservation strategy (eGA) and decision tree (DT) was proposed. The eGA part constructs the model framework and transforms the factor identification into a problem of selecting the fittest individual from the population, while the DT part evaluates the fitness. Model verification and comparison were conducted based on real automatic vehicle location (AVL) data in Shenzhen, China. The results showed that the proposed eGA–DT model outperformed other frequently used single DT and extra tree (ET) models with at least a 20% reduction in MAE under different bus routes, periods, and bus stops. Six factors, including the sequence of the bus stop, the headway and dwell time at the previous bus stop, the travel time between bus stops, etc., were identified to have a significant effect on bus bunching, which is of great value for feature selection to improve the accuracy and efficiency of bus bunching prediction and real-time bus dispatching.

Original languageEnglish
Article number11778
JournalApplied Sciences
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022


  • automatic vehicle location
  • bus bunching
  • bus headway
  • decision tree
  • genetic algorithm
  • spatial–temporal characteristics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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