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Reykjavík Bus Routes Revitalized with GIS

Planners for SVR, the municipal bus system in Reykjavík, Iceland, have made full use of ArcView GIS in implementing major changes to the City's bus transportation network. These are the first such changes in more than 25 years.

ArcView GIS map of ReykjavikThe City has grown considerably during that time, with entire suburbs now flourishing where open land stood only a few short years ago.

"We wanted to minimize the disruption to our service as much as we possibly could," comments Thorhallur Gudlaugsson, marketing and development manager at SVR.

Pictured above right: Using ArcView GIS and data from LUKR, SVR can extract information for analytical purposes including route distances, street construction, road direction, road composition, and number of accidents at specified locations.

"Our ridership is loyal; however, we were faced with a public relations challenge as much as a routing one," continues Gudlaugsson. "We suffer very inclement weather here, as you may well imagine, and the location of bus stops and the walking distance to those stops are of great concern to our riders."

For many years, Reykjavík has been building the Land Information System of Reykjavík (LUKR), one of the world's most comprehensive GIS systems. The LUKR GIS is used extensively throughout the City by various government agencies. SVR has used a number of coverages from LUKR including the coastline, streets, walking paths, and houses.

Using ArcView GIS and data from LUKR, SVR can extract a variety of information for analytical purposes including route distances, street construction, road direction, road composition, number of accidents at specified locations, as well as the demographics of residents in particular areas. SVR's scheduling system has also been included in the GIS so that the City's bus routes and related timetables can be used for further analysis and development work. This information has been very useful in implementing their comprehensive route and scheduling reorganization.

For example, routes 11 and 111 both serve the same district of Reykjavík, in some cases using the same roads and in others using different ones. The redundancy in service developed slowly over the years as the City grew. Some residents felt that there was too much bus traffic and others didn't believe that their neighborhood was adequately serviced.

Through the use of ArcView GIS, SVR developed various scenarios to determine which sections of the routes could be dropped, modified, or left as is and how this would influence the overall service.

For more information, contact Thorhallur Gudlaugsson, SVR (e-mail: thorgud@rvk.is).

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