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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Eric Gonzales

Subject Categories

Transportation Engineering


Public transit is important to societies worldwide. The operation of public transit systems is generally associated with great benefits for the users, but there are also cases in which these systems demonstrate inefficient performance. Quantifying transit performance is an important area of research over the last decades. This dissertation presents models to improve transit system performance through optimization techniques and new technologies, recognizing the effects of non-uniform distribution of demand over space and time. The contributions span fixed route transit services and on-demand transit, as well as models for flexible transit operations that lie in between.

Regarding fixed route systems, a methodology is proposed to estimate the number of passengers being left-behind subway train vehicles due to overcrowding. Methods to identify appropriate time periods and locations for studying this phenomenon are presented. The effects of overcrowding on passenger waiting times are also investigated. The challenging case of transit networks where passengers tap-in only upon entrance is analyzed, adding a new methodology to a very short list of similar studies and enhancing previous work in this field.

For demand responsive systems, this dissertation focuses on optimizing the operation of paratransit services through coordination with alternative providers in order to decrease high operating costs of such a service. The analysis includes a heuristic-based method. The proposed model is more detailed than existing aggregated methods and is able to perform well in high demand levels, unlike existing exact approaches. This part of the dissertation also assists in making transportation network companies a complementary part of public transit, rather than a competitor.

Finally, flexible transit systems are studied to identify the operational and demand related characteristics of a service area that could serve as indicators of such systems' efficient performance. The focus here is on route deviation flexible services. Continuous approximation is used to model this flexible system. A new optimized hybrid transit system with elements of both fixed route and flexible services is proposed. Finally, it is highlighted that the current COVID-19 pandemic has proven the need for public transit systems that could be adjusted to accommodate changes in transit demand.