Lee, A., M. Savelsbergh (2014), An extended demand responsive connector. EURO Journal on Transportation and Logistics, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13676-014-0060-6.
The need for viable public transit systems has been well documented and so has the role that so-called flexible transport systems can play. Flexible transport services offer great potential for increases in mobility and convenience and decreases in travel times and operating costs. One such service is the demand responsive connector, which transports commuters from residential addresses to transit hubs via a shuttle service, from where they continue their journey via a traditional timetabled service. To access this service, commuter and service provider agree on an earliest time the commuter must be available for collection and a latest time the commuter will arrive at a transit station. We investigate various options for implementing a demand responsive connector and the associated vehicle-scheduling problems. Previous work has only considered regional systems, where vehicles drop passengers off at a predetermined station; one of our contributions is to relax that restriction and investigate the benefits of allowing alternative transit stations. An extensive computational study shows that the more flexible system offers cost advantages over regional systems, especially when transit services are frequent, or transit hubs are close together, with little impact on passenger convenience.