[LINK] OT: ACTION Bus Timetables
Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Mon Oct 25 19:48:13 EST 2010
At 19:21 +1100 25/10/10, Ash Nallawalla wrote:
>Giving them the benefit of the doubt, can you see where the current
>timetable works like a charm for some other combinations of bus-changes? It
>would make a good project for a CompSci class (cue TomW) to design the best
I did some Ops Research in my youth, and it's a truism that you can
only maximise a single criterion ('optimise a mathematically
definable objective function' might be closer to applied maths
Scheduling, in any real-world context, doesn't fit that condition;
to it's not feasible to solve all problems with one solution.
My grizzle was above all about the user information services and user
interface aspects, which are pretty straightforward analysis and
Where the scheduling is concerned, I *do* have a problem with their
design if it's not based on some coherent conception of what the
primary target markets are. (And I agree there are some
resource/space constraints that have to be allowed for as well as
time-and-place constraints, as Ash's example below shows rather
This is a government-run bus operation, and it therefore has social
as well as economic aims, and indeed environmental aims too. So
simplistic (i.e. economists') notions like profit maximisation or
even revenue maximisation are irrelevant.
A reasonable response on the scheduling aspects could be something like:
'The following are the primary target markets that we designed for:
... You've highlighted inconvenience - on a run to the smallest of
the valleys that make up Canberra - for a small number of arrivals on
the creaky and often-late Sydney train. That's a side-effect of the
design, for which we're sorry, but that's how it is'.
Rest assured that if I get any kind of response that makes my
20-minute analysis look awry or unfair, I'll let you know.
But, if you're a betting man, don't hold your breath.
>Before my daughter got her full driving licence, she used to take the
>VicRail train to Geelong and miss the bus to Deakin Uni by 3 minutes. The
>next one was something like 45 minutes later, so she often called on her
>brother or classmates to give her a lift. This apparent craziness made more
>sense when we saw the tiny bus stop on a narrow road at the Geelong campus
>and how it could not sustain several buses all arriving at once. These buses
>went to other destinations in Geelong and the one for the railway station
>had to get its own time slot and not stuff up the other buses.
Roger Clarke http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd 78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au http://www.xamax.com.au/
Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science Australian National University
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