Optimization of fare structure and service frequency for maximum profitability of transit systems

Steven I.J.Y. Chien, Chuck F.M. Tsai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Providing efficient public transportation has been recognized as a potential way of alleviating congestion, improving mobility, mitigating air pollution, and reducing energy consumption. Many people use public transportation systems for their daily commute, while others use different transportation modes (e.g. cars, taxis, carpools, etc.). Inexpensive fares with good transit service encourages ridership, and the resulting revenue may be used to provide better service. Optimization of transit service frequency and its associated fare structure is desirable in order to increase revenue at reasonable transit operating expenditure. The objective of the study reported here is to maximize profit subject to service capacity constraint, while elastic demand is considered. The solution methodology is developed and applied to solve the profit maximization problem in a case study based on Newark, NJ, USA. Numerical results, including optimal solutions and sensitivity analyses, are presented. It is found that an optimal temporal headway and differential fare structure that maximizes total profit for the studied subway system can be efficiently solved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-500
Number of pages24
JournalTransportation Planning and Technology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Transportation


  • Fare
  • Optimization
  • Profit
  • Public transportation
  • Revenue
  • Transit


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