Optimization Models for Comparing Conventional Bus, Dial-A-Ride and Taxi Systems in Rural Areas
Johnson, LaToya N
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This thesis formulates, analyzes, optimizes and compares total cost models for conventional, taxi and dial-a-ride systems in rural areas. The models are developed for a rural region with a town at its center. By considering characteristics of rural areas and rural passengers, the models minimize total cost by optimizing key decision variables, i.e. headway and the number of taxis in a system. The analysis of these models aims to identify thresholds of demand where different systems are preferable and explore the effects of various operating conditions on cost and optimized decision variables for each transportation system. The results of this thesis show that in general the taxi system has the lowest total cost per trip, but the dial-a-ride and conventional bus systems have the lowest user and operator cost, respectively. This analysis gives policymakers in rural regions guidelines for developing efficient public transportation systems given various circumstances.