Appendix C: Alternative Measures of Route Productivity

Disclaimer: Legacy Content

The information on this page is derived from Moving Forward Together Plan, approved by Halifax Regional Council in 2016. Minor adjustments to route numbering and route planning have since been made and approved in Halifax Transit Annual Service Plans. 

Through the roll out of the Halifax Transit Technology Plan, Halifax Transit will be able to gather more information than ever before on route productivity and service utilization. The utilization rate (also known as load factor) is another metric of evaluating the success of a route. This metric is a percentage calculated by dividing the number of passenger kilometers provided by each trip by the number of seat kilometers provided by each trip.

Alternative route of productivity

This is an excellent indicator of how much of the transit service being supplied is utilized by passengers.
This is a single metric that can be applied to all service types and buses of any capacity.

Productivity and Economic Measures

While using ridership as an approximation of the success of a transit route is one industry standard, this measure in itself does not capture a true picture of the route’s success as it does not incorporate its financial viability. In order to provide a more complete picture of the success of a route, staff may use the following composite measures to evaluate the overall productivity of a route as compared to other routes of the same service type:

Measuring Productivity and Economic Measures

Measuring Productivity and Economic Measures

These two measures may be evaluated for each route and indexed against the average for all routes in that service type, generating a Ridership Productivity Index and an Economic Standard Index. These two indices would be averaged to get the Combined Index, a well-rounded measure to evaluate the performance of a route type against others in that service category. The table below provides a sample output for three fictional routes:

Ridership productivity

In the above example, according to the Combined Index, overall, the route B is performing above average and Routes A and C are performing slightly below average.

This measure can be used to rank the productivity of routes in comparison to other routes in the same service type.


1 Calculated by dividing the number of boardings per revenue hour for that route by the average number of boardings per revenue hour for the service type
2 Calculated by dividing the cost per passenger for that route by the average cost per passenger for the service type