Improving Public School Bus Operations: Boston Case Study

Studies show that congestion in big cities has a tremendous impact on the time travelers spend on the road. This is translated into a loss of productivity in the various sectors of the economy. It also impacts students relying on school buses commuting to their schools. In fact, the most common problem facing schools is students arriving late for breakfast and/or classes. This problem is similar in many ways to the famous Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). However, it has interesting features and constraints. For instance, a trip time constraint is imposed and the dynamic transportation environment has high impact on the system performance. The objective of this research effort is to develop a system that gives recommendations to school bus drivers in terms of route selection in order to get the students to their schools on time. The research effort primarily aims at addressing the problems that the Boston Public School (BPS) is currently facing, namely: to transport students to and from schools in a safe, reliable and optimum manner. Currently BPS transportation is used largely by minorities, namely, Hispanic and Black students. Specifically, black students are 70% more likely to use the bus service than white students. Due to BPS' system of school choice, they are more likely to need to travel long distances to be able to attend high quality schools. It is therefore important that an improved service quality be maintained for this transportation system. This problem is complex, has many dimensions and the study team proposes building a system that uses historical and real-time traffic and weather data to predict the traffic state evolution over a short time horizon. This will then be coupled by an advanced routing algorithm to route buses in an optimal fashion to improve the BPS quality of service.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $140000
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

      University Transportation Centers Program
      Department of Transportation
      Washington, DC  United States  20590
    • Managing Organizations:

      Urban Mobility and Equity Center

      Morgan State University
      Baltimore, MD  United States  21251
    • Performing Organizations:

      Virginia Tech Transportation Institute

      3500 Transportation Research Plaza
      Blacksburg, Virginia  United States  24061

      Morgan State University

      1700 E. Cold Spring Lane
      Baltimore, MD 21251, Maryland  United States  21251
    • Principal Investigators:

      Bichiou, Youssef

      Rakha, Hesham

      Lee, Young-Jae

    • Start Date: 20181201
    • Expected Completion Date: 20200301
    • Actual Completion Date: 0
    • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01683576
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Urban Mobility and Equity Center
    • Contract Numbers: Grant#69A435551747123
    • Files: UTC, RiP
    • Created Date: Oct 17 2018 12:34PM