Identification and Modeling of Influential Factors on Ridership in a New Bus Rapid Transit Based Transit-Oriented City in South Korea

Choi, Hyung Wook, Civil Engineering - School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Park, Byungkyu, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Virginia

Multi-functional Administrative City (MAC) is a new planned city 100 miles south of Seoul which is developed to relocate 36 Governmental Offices and 16 Governmental Research Institutes from the Capital to stimulate balanced national development. MAC is a project area in Sejong City surrounded by four other cities. The total population of the five cities combined in 2013 are 3.2 million people, and the total area is 3,406 ㎢.

MAC consists of 22 walking friendly residential zones placed along the inner circular Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridor in which 65.6% of population and 82.4% of land for commercial and business use are concentrated in 500 meter walking distance. 73% of respondents of survey walk to BRT station. 47% of the respondents can reach BRT station in 5 minutes, and a total of 74% can reach the station in 10 minutes. Almost 70% of the respondents chose the close proximity and a good right-of-way as the reason for using BRT. With well-planned exclusive running ways, the BRT shows high traveling speed of 46.8km/h in 31.2km section. Since the beginning of the BRT operation in April 2013, the maximum ridership in a given month has tripled in 7 months from 1,828 persons per day to 5,674 persons per day.

Despite of the city having good environment and infrastructure such as the exclusive BRT running ways, a few implementations need to be made to achieve “State-of-the-art image” to be comparable to the world renowned BRTs. These include high-capacity articulated vehicle with multiple doors, station with amenities, and off-board fare collection system. The survey taken from the MAC residents showed that “travel speed” was the most satisfying element and “State-of-the-art image” was the most dissatisfying element.

The “travel speed” is the most influential element for ridership as well as for satisfaction impression of the BRT. A binary logistic regression analysis developed from the survey results indicates that the ridership is highly sensitive to the difference in travel time between the BRT and a private car. When the relationship between the mode share and travel time ratio of a private car and the BRT (i.e. travel time of private car over travel time of BRT) is applied to the future travel speed obtained from a Visum program, the prediction of mode share of private cars in 2030 is 29.05% which is under the target mode share of 30% established as the policy goal of the transit oriented city, MAC.

Given that the target population in MAC is expected to grow 0.5 million by 2030, BRT travel time will be increased due to more frequent stops and longer dwelling times at stations with the increased ridership. Therefore, the improvement for vehicle, station, and fare collection system is recommended to resolve the dissatisfaction of not having the “state-of-the-art image” in MAC’s BRT and also to prevent the decrease in travel speed which is the most desired and the most influential element for BRT ridership.

MS (Master of Science)
ridership, travel speed, modeling, South Korea, BRT, TOD, bus rapid transit, survey
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