Modeling transit technology selection in a linear transportation corridor

Ya Juan Chen, Zhi Chun Li, Hing Keung William Lam

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes an analytical model for investigating transit technology selection problem from a perspective of transit authority. Given a transit technology alternative (e.g., metro, light rail transit, or bus rapid transit), the proposed model aims to maximize the social welfare of the transit system by determining the optimal combination of transit line length, number of stations, station location (or spacing), headway, and fare. In the proposed model, the effects of passenger demand elasticity and capacity constraint are explicitly considered. The properties of the model are examined analytically, and a heuristic solution procedure for determining the model solution is presented. By comparing the optimized social welfare for different transit technology alternatives, the optimal transit technology solution can be obtained together with critical population density. On the basis of a simple population growth rate formula, optimal investment timing of a new transit technology can be estimated. The proposed methodology is illustrated in several Chinese cities. Insightful findings are reported on the interrelation among transit technology selection, population density, transit investment cost, and transit line parameter design as well as the comparison between social welfare maximization and profit maximization regimes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-72
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Advanced Transportation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • linear transportation corridor
  • population density
  • social welfare
  • transit technology selection problem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Strategy and Management


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