UTFacultiesETDepartmentsCEMResearch groupsTransport Engineering and ManagementResearchFinished PhD and EngD research projectsEvaluation of ridership effects of a Personal Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) for Transit in Rio de Janeiro

Evaluation of ridership effects of a Personal Advanced Traveler Information System (ATIS) for Transit in Rio de Janeiro


Transumo and IFluxo




Prof. Dr. Ir. E.C. (Eric) van Berkum

Daily supervisor:

Prof DSc. Milena Bodmer

Dep. of Transport Engineering;

Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

PhD student:

Warner Vonk






Site Warner Vonk


The aim of this research is to determine the ridership effects of a Personal ATIS for transit in a non subsidized transit market in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In Brazil transit (public transport) by bus has an important role in the fulfillment of the mobility need of the population but its effectiveness is decreasing. In the last years the average speed of busses dropped considerable due to congestion and bus transit is gradually loosing ridership to individual transport modes like private car, motorbike and para-transit that have quality attributes that fit better to the individual’s mobility needs. Brazilian urban transit travelers attribute high value to punctuality, small waiting time, reduced over crowdedness and customer service. Therefore traveler information systems and especially Advanced Traveler Information Systems (ATIS) are expected to improve the quality attributes of transit. At the moment static travel time schedules are not yet available in the majority of the cities and -if available- information is not reliable due to congestion. Therefore travelers are not used to travel schedules and just go to the bus stop and wait until their bus service passes by.

 Personal ATIS –an ATIS adjusted to travelers´ personal needs– has great potential to improve the quality of transit and increase its competitive edge in comparison to individual transport modes. In the Brazilian transit market the use of transit information systems and especially ATIS for transit is still in its infancy due to modest public investments. In order to increase the use of Personal ATIS, a better insight in the available Personal ATIS systems and its consequences is necessary in order to obtain a cost-benefit ratio that respects the budget limitations.

The partners in this project develop the tools to distribute the information based on sms (BuSMS) and smartphone (BusApp); in this Phd research the ridership effects of these tools are being established.

European experiences with Personal ATIS for Transit have shown that a good insight in the technical implementation and especially the organization of traveler information system for transit is necessary. Until now even in Europe there is not a satisfactory organization model for the provision of Personal ATIS for transit. Recent Dutch research indicates that a productive environment for the development of Personal ATIS for transit services and products is a competitive deregulated transit environment with a focus on travelers and not on the transit authority. The transit market in Rio de Janeiro has good characteristics to implement pilot projects, given the high competition among operators and the fact that they operate under net cost contract concessions. However the European difficulties indicate that a good insight in the implementation process and especially the organization of the information system is necessary.

Finally, there must be a clear insight in the effects of Personal ATIS for transit on the travelers, especially since the system is expected to be funded by private entities that have focus on profit and thus on the increase of ridership. In international academic literature there are many theories about the impact of travel information and ATIS for transit on travelers and potential travelers but there is little empirical research on these effects. As far as the author knows in Brazil there is no empirical research about the effect of ATIS for transit on travelers.