Public Transport

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 257–289 | Cite as

Automatic recognition of “low-quality” vehicles and bus stops in bus services

  • Benedetto BarabinoEmail author
Original Paper


A recent interest in transit service analysis resulted in advances in the monitoring of public transport quality from the passenger’s viewpoint. Several frameworks were proposed to show where and when different quality levels occur, but there has been no focus on determining which vehicles and bus stops lead to low-quality performance in bus services. This paper proposes a framework that: (i) performs a simple data collection on selected parameters on passenger activities at bus stops (e.g., consulting posted information) and in-vehicle (e.g., validating the ticket). This data collection is performed by Secret Shoppers on Origin-Destination pairs representing paths travelled by passengers, (ii) proposes two new algorithms detecting criticalities for each route and parameter, and (iii) shows the vehicles and bus stops for which some targets are not met. These steps result in the first framework that can help build operational plans guiding the correction of criticalities arising in the delivered bus services. This framework is deeply investigated and discussed in a real-life Italian case.


Transit service quality monitoring Low-quality in bus stops Low-quality in vehicles Automatic detection Secret Shopper 



Analytical hierarchy process


Alert threshold


Customer Satisfaction Surveys


Handling algorithm




Output algorithm


Public transport companies


Secret Shopper Surveys


Target threshold



This work has been partially supported by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR), within the Smart City framework (project: PON04a2_00381 “CAGLIARI2020”). The author is very grateful to the Editor-in-Chief Prof. Stefan Voß and two anonymous referees for their very helpful suggestions. The author is very grateful to the CTM senior management for its support of this work and the opportunity to illustrate the results.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CTM SpACagliariItaly
  2. 2.Department of Civil Engineering, Environment and ArchitectureUniversity of CagliariCagliariItaly

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