Departmental Papers (ESE)


Increase of transit speeds is one of the most effective ways of increasing the attractiveness of transit for urban travel. While surface transit in particular suffers from low speed, the desirabil­ity of higher speeds is not limited to it. Rapid transit has adequate speed for short to medium-distance trips in urban areas. However, for longer trips, particularly when there is a competing freeway facility, the requirement for speed is rather high. Since many station spacings are adopted on the basis of area coverage, high operating speed of the trains often cannot be achieved. Thus, typical lines of urban rapid transit with average interstation spacings of approximately one-half mile have only limited length on which their speeds are satisfactory; for distances longer than, typically, 5-7 miles, they often become too slow. This is becoming an increasing problem with the spatial spread of cities.

This article describes the main alternative solutions to this problem and then focuses on the skip-stop operation, presenting a methodology for its analysis and evaluation of its applicability. Although the article discusses rail services, the basic aspects of the problem are common for any technology. For example, there are a number of bus services for which skip-stop service could be considered utilizing the methodology developed here.

Document Type

Journal Article

Date of this Version


Publication Source

Traffic Quarterly

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Copyright/Permission Statement

Posted with permission from the Eno Foundation for Transportation.



Date Posted: 22 November 2017