A comparative study of topological analysis and temporal network analysis of a public transport system

Publication Name

International Journal of Transportation Science and Technology


This research investigated accessibility and connectivity of a public transport network calculated under two equally popular analytical approaches, namely the topological network analysis and the temporal network analysis, using the bus network in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam as a case study. Specifically, we presented an apple-to-apple comparison of the two approaches to answer the question “What is the degree of discrepancy and/or loss of information, if any, in analyses using the topological network approach compared to those from the supposedly more computationally demanding temporal network approach?”. Stop-based accessibility metrics as well as measures of most-used infrastructure (bus stops and bus routes) were calculated, compared, and discussed for both approaches. In calculating shortest path between stop pairs, we adapted the multi-criteria profile connection scan algorithm for paths with earliest departure earliest arrival and minimal transfers. In representing the HCMC bus network, which had 253 directed routes servicing 4350 stops, the number of nodes and the number of edges in the temporal network over a 24-hour period were a few orders of magnitude larger than those in the topological network. Computing the shortest path between all stop pairs in the temporal network over a 3-hour period took at least an order of magnitude longer than that in the topological network. While results of network accessibility and most-used infrastructure from both representations of the bus network shared some qualitative similarities, they clearly demonstrated disadvantages of the topological network approach in capturing the temporal heterogeneity of a public transport network operation.

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