Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Crowding, delays and late-running - Part 1

A points failure, lightning strike or level crossing accident delays thousands of passengers on a busy line. Some get frustrated and blame the train operator. Others take refuge in a good book. But for me such incidents are beneficial in that they force me to think about them and their management. I confess that blog postings here would be fewer if I lived on a shorter, quieter and less delayed line!

The following graphs illustrate some links between passenger loading, delays and their propagation (click for a larger image).


Anonymous said...

Excellent stuff. Even better than your analysis is the way you've done it - simple charts and diagrams.

This is how transit fundamentals need to be presented.

Why do these drivers persist in opening the doors and letting people board? Perhaps because they don't know they're full.

I know Sydney people whinge when stations are skipped but it might be better to announce at Oakleigh that anyone for Hughesdale, Murrumbeena and Carnegie better get off now, as the train takes an impromptu run to Caulfield. All it does otherwise is make the train late, and compound the delay to Hughesdale, Murrumbeena and Carnegie people who have to wait even longer for the train that will take them.

And as clear a message as was ever needed that a full time high freq service to Oakleigh or Westall is needed, to pick up all these people.

Diff question for you Peter - what would you do about school hours?

The 7.5 hour school shift causes problems because hits either one peak or the other. At the moment it is the morning peak that cops it.

Here's some ideas I've had.

-9:30 to 4, would get it past the worst of the morning peak and before the worst of the evening peak

-rotating day off with longer day, each school to pick a day off, and both peaks otherwise effected. Spread the load more evenly. But parents would complain if kids at different schools, and danger that kids spend day roaming city, and catching PT in any event.

-6 shorter days, say 10-3. Would place a heavier burden on afterschool childcare, and means parents see less of their kids (a good thing?). Parents would probably pick up their kids by car on the Saturday.

-do the Yank thing and only use school buses

Peter Parker said...

Riccado, I'd start with a philosophical question:

Should the transport system give what the people want when they want it, or should the people adapt to suit the transport system?

The first is going to be more expensive due to the infrastructure needed for a peaky peak and poor utilisation at other times.

The second will be cheaper and more efficient to provide.

But if public transport demands too much of its users then more of them would be forced back to cars.

Now onto schools.

The proportion of school children in the population is declining so it might not be that much of an issue. And most kids are in outer suburbs where rail is less common/proximate than in the middle suburbs.

The main drivers of demand include state school amalgamations, the shift to private schools (which tend to be further away from homes) and population growth.

Overall the number of students requiring rail transport will probably hold up, but probably not increase as fast as the working population.

What to do?

The devils advocate in me favours none of your approaches.

Since most kids are in the outer suburbs, why not move the posh schools to outer suburban stations like Berwick (already some there), Hallam, Upfield or Hoppers?

This would put schools nearer homes and encourage reverse commuting.

The schools would make a motza from selling their prime inner suburban sites. One would hope this would fund the building of the new school and allow bribes to parents (ie lower fees) to make it popular.

Less radically, selective schools (like Melbourne High) could be built in growth areas (preferably near rail).

To me this one-off approach of better design might be less of a 'sacrifice' than fiddling with hours which is daily.