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A framework for agent based simulation of demand responsive transport systems

Bischoff, Joschka; Soeffker, Ninja; Maciejewski, Michał

VSP Working Paper

Demand responsive transport (DRT), such as shared mini busses, have become a viable form of public transport mainly in rural areas in recent years. In contrast to ordinary schedule-based services, DRT systems come in many different shapes and forms and are usually customised to the environment they operate in. E.g., they might be restricted to certain user groups or only operate in specific areas or with a specific fixed terminus. With advances in information and communications technology (ICT) and the possibility of driverless operations in the future, DRT systems may become an attractive additional mode also in urban and inter-urban transport. This brings the necessity to assess and evaluate DRT services and possible business models, with transport simulations being one possible way. This study introduces a framework for an extensible, open source shared minibus service simulation. Based on the agent based transport simulation MATSim and its existing DVRP extension, the extension provides DRT services as an additional mode to the synthetic population of a MATSim scenario. The module allows assigning vehicles to groups according to different dispatch algorithms shaped to the actual use case. In a first case study, a DRT system complements ordinary public transport and car infrastructure on the heavily used commuter relation between Braunschweig and Wolfsburg. During peak times, average travel times per traveler over all modes between the two cities can be reduced by 5 minutes using a fleet of 50 8-seat-vehicles. In a second case study, a DRT system is used to shuttle passengers in an area with non-optimal public transport access to the train station in Braunschweig. With given capacity constraints, the optimizer has to decide which customers to serve in order to achieve an on-time arrival for passengers