Towards Advanced Public Transport Investment with Multi-levelled Economic Assessment

Towards Advanced Public Transport Investment with Multi-levelled Economic Assessment


Dr Yanling Xiang, Transport Network Planning Section, Surface Transport Planning Department, Ministry of Transport, Qatar, Dr WISSAM AL HAMRA, Transport Network Planning Section, Surface Transport Planning Department, Ministry of Transport, Mr Saad Khodr,


The paper presents a multi-levelled economic assessment framework that has been developed for the State of Qatar to identify and optimize public transport investments and interventions for both short term and long term with real-life applications


Qatar has been experiencing unprecedented social and economic growth for decades. Qatar National Vision 2030 is set to transform Qatar into an advanced society capable of sustaining development and providing a high standard of living for its people. Qatar’s 2030 transit system will be of high-quality integrated with long-distance regional rail, Metro network, LRT and BRT, traditional bus, and feeder bus in network hierarchy. Phase 1 Metro will be delivered in 2019 ready for FIFA 2022 World Cup covering key strategic corridors in Doha.
Current public transport supply in Qatar is very limited by unreliable bus services and the ridership is severely underutilized. Giving ever-increasing congestion across Doha partly due to nation-wide road works, to make Qatar moving, urgent tasks in the short term prior Metro opening are to design, implement, and deliver an integrated BRT system in Doha with existing bus services coordinated with residential area feeder buses that is practically-achievable by 2017.
Government investment in public transport needs to be justified with economic case appraisal to achieve multi-criteria objectives. This paper presents a multi-leveled modeling and appraisal toolbox developed for the State of Qatar for both short term (pre-Metro years by 2020) and long term transit investments. This paper will show how the toolbox has been applied successfully in justifying the integrated BRT provision prior Metro opening. It will be used to assess long term transit interventions in Qatar for service optimization and prioritization with good value for money.
The toolbox consists of a system of interlinked tools: a) a compatible ArcGIS tool at parcel level to address Qatar’s rapid changing of land use, b) a feedback modeling system between VISUM tour-based demand model and private&public supply models in 1440 fine zones, c) a high level transit network design tool in 201 coarse zones, and d) a multi-criteria appraisal approach to account both measured and unmeasured effects including Benefit-to-Cost (BCR) ratios for economic efficiency.
The two-leveled transit modeling is via an assessment feedback loop between part c) transit tool as high level and part b) detailed transit modeling as fine level. The high level model is assignment-only with fixed transit matrix which does not require detailed transit network coding in determining the “ideal line network” where each passenger chooses the fastest route without any restrictions caused by routes or timetables. It is practically flexible and transparent as a quick response screening tool to ensure efficient schemes are not lost in network coding errors or noises, as the fine level transit modeling is dependent highly on the quality of the configuration of stops, connectors, access/egress/transfer times and catchment area definitions, in addition to the need to reach supply-demand equilibrium via time-consuming MSA procedures. The fine level model is developed facilitating transit pricing modeling addressing the impact of private network congestion and public transport service capacity and overcrowding. This detailed transit model considers accurately station concourse walk time, platform transfer walk time, bus and metro interchange walk time by VISUM stop area specification, for realistic inter and intra mode interchange among system components. Different fare mechanism is implemented by flat fare or distance-based, and Park-and-Ride and Kiss-and-Ride are incorporated as access modes to transit for Metro/LRT/BRT.
Transit demands outputted from the full model b), subject to equilibrium convergence criteria, are aggregated into 201 zones as input to part c) for scenario assessments on line route optimization. Scenario runtimes at the high level are in minutes for all three peaks rather than hours or days. The high level model is linked to cost benefit analysis with BCRs updated simultaneously per option with passenger flows used in rolling stock estimation. For Pre Metro BRT provision facilities such as bus stations/depots, bus laybys/shelters, pedestrian bridges, intelligent transport systems and right-of-way bus lanes and signals are all accounted in BCR calculation. Politicians are engaged with planners at the high level economic case by scenario comparisons on the rank of BCRs, on fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emission, and on other unmeasured quantitative impacts for a multi-criteria assessment approach. From our experience their early involvements are highly beneficial in winning hearts and minds for support on public transport intervention.
The paper will present the performance benefits of the integrated modeling toolbox, especially by taking their combined strength with a multi-leveled feedback mechanism. Modeling results will demonstrate that the high level economic assessments are flexible and powerful in scenario identification for transit investment in Qatar, with screened potential scenarios subject to full supply-demand modeling and detailed appraisal per feedback loop within the framework.


Association for European Transport