Measuring Service Quality

The quality of service provided on Toronto’s streets and in the subway has been a major, long-running topic on this site.  As reported last week, the TTC has just issued its third quarterly report on surface route reliability relative to a target of scheduled headway ±3 minutes.  They acknowledge that the methodology behind these numbers is flawed, and seek a better way to track reliability from the riders’ point of view.

To that end, the TTC is looking at the “journey time metric” used in London, UK, which tracks an entire trip’s experience including access, waiting and transfer times.  Leaving aside the need to define multiple trips both in location (downtown, suburban, in between) and in time (peak commutes, midday, evening, weekends), I believe that multiple metrics are required to flag problems at a level that is both meaningful and revealing of problem specifics.

What follows is a slightly reworked version of a proposal I made to the TTC recently on this subject.

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