Hub and Spoke model can make public transport system more efficient: IISc study

A view of the Kempegowda Bus Station.  

Could the airport-hub model be the answer to a more efficient public transport system in Bengaluru? A study conducted by a team from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.), Bangalore, says a bus transit service based on a destination-oriented or point-to-point approach in a large city is “cumbersome” and “impractical.” Instead, it proposes a ‘Hub and Spoke network,’ which is a combination of destination-oriented and direction-oriented approaches, as the more efficient choice.

The recently published paper, ‘Development of hub and spoke model for improving operational efficiency of bus transit network of Bangalore city,’ analysed the impact that creating multiple hubs - such as the Kempegowda Bus Station - can have on the operating efficiency of the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) as well as on the passengers.

What the study, conducted by the Department of Civil Engineering and Centre for Infrastructure Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning (CiSTUP) and Department of Civil Engineering revealed was that with 17 potential hubs, three shortest paths for each route and a minimum of 10 minute feeder routes, the total number of routes could reduce to 344 routes, requiring 4,436 buses. At present, the BMTC operates 908 routes with 6,056 buses, the paper said.

Explaining how, Prof. Ashish Verma from CiSTUP said, “This model is commonly used in the airline network. There are hub airports such as in Dubai and Frankfurt. Instead of direct flights, they aggregate the demand, bring it to hub airport, consolidate them and take them to different destinations. In the Bengaluru context, the TTMCs are spread out quite well and were supposed to act as hubs when they were conceived because they have transfer service, parking facility and commercial spaces. The idea is not to utilise them, but to use them to improve operational efficiency of the network.”

What the study, which has been submitted to the BMTC, does is address problems of the present system, wherein a “web of bus routes, many of them long, ply through mixed traffic conditions resulting in poor reliability of travel time. Capacity is also wasted, with some buses running full and some others empty, while the frequency of the buses and the round trip time are also affected.

Instead, the model seeks to “slice” longer routes into smaller ones, aggregating demand at the hub locations, from where there will be high frequency feeder buses between hubs as well as transfer services to destinations.

Ekroop Caur, Managing Director, BMTC said the corporation had already implemented the ‘hub and spoke’ model, reaping positive results. These were from the Kempegowda Bus Station to Attibele and Hoskote, Kanakapura and the ITPB. “We have seen an increase in ridership and frequency of buses and are planning to implement the model in more sectors,” she added.

However, Prof. Verma said the model had to be applied to the entire network to achieve full efficiency.

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Printable version | Apr 11, 2021 6:15:39 AM |

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