School of Civil Engineering

For further information on projects, email Prof. Hickman at


Projects in transport engineering

Project 1: Mining Passenger-specific Measures of Reliability from Smart Card Data

The greatest concern to travellers in using public transit involves the reliability of the service. Will it come on time? How long will it take to get to my destination? And, can I trust the service to get me there without too much delay? The perceived reliability of the transit service can make a big difference in whether and in how people use that service.

This project will make use of new data sources from Translink to analyse transport reliability from the passengers' perspective. Rather than looking at whether buses or trains are running on time, we will explore the variations in on-time performance and journey travel times of individual travellers. This will include an analysis of GTFS-Realtime data to identify on-time performance. However, to get the passengers' actual experiences, we will also use Go Card transaction data, capturing the origins, destinations, and time of day of travel. The Go Card data also allows a better understanding of day-to-day variations in the passengers' travel times, as well as whether they experience crowding on board the buses and trains for their journey. The objective is to devise practical ways of capturing a measure of travel reliability, as experienced by the passenger, when using public transport.


Project 2: Simulation of (Northern) Busway Operations

Over the past 3 years, students have developed an Aimsun simulation of the Brisbane busway network, incorporating the Southeast busway, the Eastern busway, and the central section of the busway running from King George Square to Cultural Centre. The final piece of the busway network to be developed and simulated is the network from King George Square to the north, through Roma Street, the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, and further north to Windsor, Lutwyche and Kedron Brook. This is quite challenging, as it involves significant on-street operations on Lutwyche Road as well as numerous high-volume signalised intersections. With this complete busway system, various operating strategies along the busway can then be considered: better control of buses to avoid "bus bunching", better schedule adherence through holding strategies, and management to improve bus operations during major incidents or service disruptions.

This project would develop the simulation of the Northern Busway using a variety of data sources, and would then develop and execute a plan to simulate operations of the full busway network. For longer-term projects or theses, the performance of different operating strategies can then be simulated and compared with the existing conditions. Formal recommendations for Translink may emerge from this project.