Geographic Information System (GIS) for Location of Bus Stop

1.1 Background

Transportation is a system that considers the complex relationships between networks, the demand and space. Transit on the other hand is dominantly an urban transportation mode. Since transit is a shared public service, it potentially benefits from economies of agglomeration related to high densities and from economies of scale related to high mobility demands. Mass bus transit is highly suitable for any university campus, which experiences a high volume of traffic flow during a fixed time frame. Space on the other hand is limited due to its characteristic built environment. ( Reshmi Mukherjee, 2003)

Transport or transportation is the movement of people and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline, and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations. Passenger transport may be public, where operators provide scheduled services, or private. Freight transport has become focused on containerization, although bulk transport is used for large volumes of durable items. Transport plays an important part in economic growth and globalization, but most types cause air pollution and use large amounts of land. While it is heavily subsidized by governments, good planning of transport is essential to make traffic flow, and restrain urban sprawl. (Wikipedia, 2011)

Public transportation can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations. In infrastructure it involve on the fixed installations necessary for transport, including roads, railways, airways, waterways, canals and pipelines or terminals such as airports, railway stations, bus stations, bus stops and seaports. Vehicles traveling on the network include automobiles, bicycles, buses, trains, people and aircraft. Operations deal with the way the vehicles are operated, and the procedures set for this purpose including the financing, legalities and policies (Wikipedia, 2011).

An intercity bus is a bus that carries passengers significant distances between different cities, towns, or other populated areas. Unlike a municipal bus, which has frequent stops throughout a city or town, an intercity bus generally has a single stop at a centralized location within the city, and travels long distances without stopping at all. Intercity buses exist all over the world that are operated by government or private industry, for profit and not for profit. (Wikipedia, 2011).

Infrastructure particularly bus stop is one of the important fixed installation that need to take into account. The bus stop is also the most prominent icon of public transit. The locations, functionality, safety, and visual appearance of stops are critical to attracting and maintaining transit riders in any location

In most urban areas, public transportation service is provided by fixed-route bus systems. Bus stops are the point of transition where an enquiry starts to become a journey. It is important to consider passenger characteristics (eg access to the bus stop), route characteristics (eg frequency of buses), service identity or the roading environment when determining the location of individual bus stops. The bus stop is also the first point of contact between the passenger and the bus service. The spacing, location, design, and operation of bus stops significantly influence transit system performance and customer satisfaction.

A bus stop is a designated place where buses stop for passengers to board or leave a bus. These are normally positioned on the highway and are distinct from off-highway facilities such as bus stations. The construction of bus stops tends to reflect the level of usage. Stops at busy locations may have shelters, seating and possibly electronic passenger information systems; less busy stops may use a simple pole and flag to mark the location and ‘customary stops’ have no specific infrastructure being known by their description. Bus stops may be clustered together into transport hubs allowing interchange between routes from nearby stops and with other public transport modes. (Wikipedia, 2011).

1.2 Problem of Statement

Bus is a major demand in Malaysia as public intercity transit. Besides the fees is in low rate it also serve a better public transportation if it has to do with plenty numbers of passengers. Since the bus stop is the most prominent icon of public transit, the location, functionality, safety, and visual appearance of stops are critical to attracting and maintaining transit riders in any location. Present bus stops in Malaysia certainly are inconveniently located. GIS is being used to locate suitable location for the bus stops.

As the density of passenger and land use pattern in Shah Alam has changed drastically it is upmost that new bus locations need to be identified.

1.3 Aim

The aim of this case study is to locate the best locations for bus stops within the city of Shah Alam using Geographic Information System (GIS). Comparison of the existing and the planned bus stops will be carry out.

1.4 Objectives

To compare the criteria of locating bus stop between the existing policy and my observation and to suggest an appropriate location to locate bus stop base on criteria:

Standard spacing between bus stop

Density of population Non-Resident of UiTM’s students

Nearby attractions and major people generators:

Schools / educational premises



Recreational park

Shopping area

1.5 Limitations

In this thesis, software used is ArcGIS version 9.3

Use the Network Analysis Extension tools options

Focused only on the bus transportation provide by the RapidKL company

The test network dataset is Section 7, Shah Alam road network

1.6 Assumption

In this thesis, there are several assumption made. The bus stops served in transportation industry in Malaysia are certainly not consistently located. This study assumes that bus is the major transportation system used in Shah Alam and there is facilities transportation problem in bus transportation industries at Shah Alam area especially bus stops. The bus stop locations are not systematically located.

1.7 Study Area

Shah Alam is the location for study area in this case study. It is because as we can see the major public transportation in Shah Alam is bus. This case study is more focus on students generators especially among UiTM’s Non-resident students. From the demographic side, almost all the bus passengers are students. Most of student in UiTM Shah Alam use buses as their main transportation to go to classes. With the capacity of student, it makes the bus services route around the study area more frequently. In current situation, there are many bus stop location is inconveniently located.



2.1 Introduction

This chapter discusses and review current practices of transportation in Malaysia especially in infrastructure of transportation. The discussion start with an overview of transportation in Malaysia followed by category of transportation namely private and public. This discussion is focused on the specification of location of bus stop. Final section will elaborate about the ArcGIS buffering framework, network analysis and its capability and that maybe useful in this study.

2.2 Transportation in Malaysia

Malaysia is served by an excellent transport system. Once you are in the country there is always transport available to you to even remote areas. Traveling by road in peninsula Malaysia is popular as it has well- developed network of roads. There are various options available as to how you might wish to get to a destination.Â

In Sabah and Sarawak, it is recommended for traveling by four-wheel drive as on unpaved roads, and many remote areas can only be reached by air or river-boats. If you want to see clearly the countryside, traveling by rail is also highly recommended.

2.2.1 Transport

Transport or transportation is the movement of people and goods from one to another location. There are many types of modes of transport include air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles, and operations. (Wikipedia, 2011)

Transport infrastructure consists of the fixed installations necessary for transport, and may be roads, railways, airways, waterways, canals and pipelines, and terminals such as airports, railway stations, bus stations, warehouses, trucking terminals, refueling depots (including fueling docks and fuel stations), and seaports. Terminals may be used both for interchange of passengers and cargo and for maintenance.

Vehicles traveling on these networks may include automobiles, bicycles, buses, trains, trucks, people, helicopters and aircraft. In the transport industry, operations and ownership of infrastructure can be either public or private, depending on the country and mode.

2.2.2 Road

A road is an identifiable route, way or path between two or more places. Roads are typically smoothed, paved, or otherwise prepared to allow easy travel; though they need not be, and historically many roads were simply recognizable routes without any formal construction or maintenance. In urban areas, roads may pass through a city or village and be named as streets, serving a dual function as urban space easement and route.

The most common road vehicle is the automobile which is a wheeled passenger vehicle that carries its own motor. Other users of roads include buses, trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. As of 2002, there were 590 million automobiles worldwide. Buses allow for more efficient travel at the cost of reduced flexibility. (Wikipedia, 2011)

2.2.3 Buses

Buses are an inexpensive way to travel in Malaysia. Most, if not all buses in Kuala Lumpur (KL) are air-conditioned but there are still non-air-conditioned buses in smaller towns around the country. Buses plying routes within towns and cities typically charge fares according to the distance covered while interstate buses have fixed rates.Most of areas in Malaysia are using buses as major transportation. Especially in area with major people generator such as in residential, educational, industrial and recreational area.

The public bus service in Shah Alam is efficient and covers a wide range of routes, although steps are being taken to constantly improve the services. Strategic bus stops and stations offer passengers plenty of boarding options. Buses are in good condition and fully air-conditioned. Designated bus lanes also enable smooth scheduling of bus services for passenger’s ease. The bus routes also link to other transportation options like the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, train station and taxi stands (Urban Transportation Department, 2008).

Rapid KL as one of the bus company in Malaysia operates 134 routes in the Klang Valley including the suburban feeder service to complement the LRT systems. It has two central workshops and 13 bus depots spread across the Klang Valley and plans to gradually introduce more 15 minutes frequency throughout its system is also one of RAPID KL’s goals. Today, 15 minutes frequency is operated only at 13 routes at high-density routes (RapidKL, 2008).

2.3 Transportation Facility

2.3.1 Bus Stop

A bus stop is a designated place where buses stop for passengers to board or leave a bus. These are normally positioned on the highway and are distinct from off-highway facilities such as bus stations. The construction of bus stops tends to reflect the level of usage. Stops at busy locations may have shelters, seating and possibly electronic passenger information systems but there are also busy stops may use a simple pole and flag to mark the location and ‘customary stops’ have no specific infrastructure being known by their description. Bus stops may be clustered together into transport hubs allowing interchange between routes from nearby stops and with other public transport modes.

For operational purposes there are three main kinds of stops. First, scheduled stops, at which the bus should stop irrespective of demand. Second, request stops (or flag stop) where the vehicle will only stop on requested and hail and ride stops where a vehicle will stop anywhere along the designated section of road on request. Certain stops may be restricted to ‘set-down only’ or ‘pick-up only’. Some stops may be designated as ‘timing points’ and if the vehicle is ahead of schedule it will wait to ensure correct running to the timetable. In dense urban areas where bus volumes are high, skip-stops are sometimes used to increase efficiency and reduce delays at bus stops. Fare stages may also be defined by the location of certain stops in distance or zone based fare collection systems. (Wikipedia, 2011)

Bus stops are placed in one of three locations: near-side (located immediately before an intersection); far-side (located immediately after an intersection); and mid-block (located between intersections). Each of these locations offers advantages to vehicle drivers and pedestrians. However, the final decision on bus stop locations dependent on ease of operation, transfer situations, space availability, and traffic volumes. Pace performs on-site evaluations of proposed bus stop to analyze operating conditions and identify appropriate bus stop locations. (Pace Development Guidelines, 1999)

Near-side bus stop sign placement is generally 10 feet from the corner tangent point and 5 feet from the outer curb. However, site characteristics will ultimately dictate exact sign location. Where site limitations exist, the sign should be setback a minimum of 2 feet. Near-side locations offer a number of features to pedestrians and vehicle drivers. This location allows pedestrians to cross in front of the bus. This location also allows transit users to load and alight from buses close to crosswalks and intersections, thereby minimizing, walking distances to connecting transit service. Far-side bus stop locations are recommended on routes in which buses make left turns at intersections. Once a bus negotiates a left turn, a far-side stop provides a more appropriate service point. Far-side stops also are recommended in locations where dedicated right turn lanes are present. Far-side stops may facilitate easier bus re-entry into traffic due to gaps created by intersection traffic signals. Another bus stop location is the mid-block stop. A mid-block location is generally less congested than an intersection. Bus turnouts are most effectively located in a mid-block bus stop zone. Mid block stops are applicable at T-intersections or locations generating a larger passenger volume. (Pace Development Guidelines, 1999)

Bus stop is the first point of contact between the passenger and the bus service. The spacing, location, design, and operation of bus stops significantly influence transit system performance and customer satisfaction. (Texas Transportation Institute, 1996)

Bus stops should be at safe locations, no more than 50 meters after a traffic light or road intersection. They should not be located on sloped surfaces which considered unsafe. (Higher Committee of Planning Cities 2000)

Good pedestrian facilities often make the trip to stops more enjoyable, thus making it easier for people to choose both modes of transportation to go to work, shopping, or other activities. All transit facilities and the transportation routes that lead to them have needed to be safe, convenient, and accessible. If people do not feel safe or comfortable walking to stops, then they are likely to choose other modes of travel, such as a car. (A Gis Approach To Evaluate Bus Stop Accessibility, Giuseppe SALVO).

Socioeconomic data is vital for determining locations for transit routes and facilities. Often, socioeconomic spatial data resides in a zonal layer that may cover a very large area. While socioeconomic data aggregated to these large zones are useful for regional analyses, they can’t support a analysis of accessibility to bus stops. (A Gis Approach To Evaluate Bus Stop Accessibility, Giuseppe SALVO).

Since the bus stops would have been installed before many years, the then density of the passengers and land use pattern would have undergone a drastic change and the bus stops would not commensurate with these changes. Hence there is an increasing need for the bus stops to be rationalized. (Mr. G. Saravanan & Mr. S. Suresh Immanuel, 2003)

2.4 GIS

“a GIS is a system of hardware, software and procedures to facilitate the management, manipulation, analysis, modeling, representation and display of georeferenced data to solve complex problems regarding planning and management of resources� (NCGIA, 1990).

“A geographic information system (GIS) is an information system that is designed to work with data referenced by spatial or geographic coordinates. In other words, a GIS is both a database system with specific capabilities for spatially reference data, as well as a set of operations for working with data. In a sense, a GIS may be thought of as a higher-order map.” (Jeffrey Star and John Estes – 1990)

GIS integrates hardware, software, and data for capturing, managing, analyzing, and displaying all forms of geographically referenced information. GIS technology allows us to view, query, and understand data in many ways. We will see the relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of GIS-based maps, reports, and charts. GIS helps us answer questions and solve problems. When viewed in the context of geography, our data is quickly understood and easily shared. GIS technology can be integrated into any enterprise information system framework. (ESRI, 2011).

In broad terms, a Geographic Information System could be defined as a set of principles and techniques employed to achieve one (or both) of the following objectives:

• Finding suitable locations that have the relevant attributes. For example, finding a suitable location where an airport, a commercial forest or a retail outlet can be established. This is usually achieved through the use of Boolean (logical) operations.

• Querying the geographical attributes of a specified location. For example, examining the roads in a particular locality, to check road density or find the shortest path, and so on. This is often achieved by ‘clicking’ onto the location or object of interest, and examining the contents of the database for that location or object.

2.4.1 GIS in Transportation

GIS has been recognized for many years now as an invaluable tool for managing, planning, evaluating, and maintaining transportation systems. As the gateway to economic development and, subsequently, a healthy economy, transportation infrastructure represents one of the largest and most critical investments made in any nation, at whatever stage of development. Similarly, for many firms in the transportation industry, profitability and a strong competitive position depend on a safe and reliable system. Roads are the main arteries of a modern society’s infrastructure, contributing heavily to the distribution of goods and persons. GIS provides many helpful applications for ensuring a smooth transportation flow. Customer satisfaction, competitive position, timely response, effective deployment, and profitability are all positively affected (GISDATA Group, 2009).

Being able to visualize your assets and the surrounding environment when you build, upgrade, or repair transportation infrastructure helps you prioritize your work and make the right decisions. A geographic information system (GIS) software platform will allow you to do all this and much more. With Esri’s GIS technology, you can build dynamic and rich mapping applications that will keep everyone from the project team and government officials to field staff and the public in the know. (ESRI, 2011).

GIS contain data related to location points, lines (commonly roadway links and corridors), and polygons. Analysis tools that are part of GIS software packages can be used to relate these data. The use of GIS to manage data can simplify the analysis of transport systems and can enhance the decision-making process (Worldbank ).

2.4.2 The Importance of Geospatial Data

The nature of any natural or economic activity with a spatial dimension cannot be properly understood without reference to its spatial qualities. Spatial data have two essential parts: location and attributes.

A GIS requires location references. Typical location references are latitude and longitude and national grid references such as the National Grid. However, other geospatial codes can also be used to identify location, such as postcodes.

Attributes. Any locality would have a number of characteristics or properties associated with it. These attributes are usually kept in tables, containing such information as vegetation types, population, annual income, and so on.

GIS systems store and process data in two formats, vector and raster. In the vector data model, the world is represented as a mosaic of interconnecting lines and points representing the location and boundaries of geographical entities. In vector data models, the data are represented as:

arcs (lines)

polygons (traversed areas)

points (labelled nodes)

nodes (intersection points)

2.4.3 Existing GIS Based System

A Spatial Location–Allocation GIS Framework for Managing Water Sources in a Savanna Nature Reserve.


Associated with the establishment or removal of water sources in savanna ecosystems is the issue of the effects of such management actions on animal movement and habitat selection, longer term implications on population levels, and impacts of such change on habitat degradation and soil erosion. Extant metrics used to describe the spatial distribution of water sources on the landscape often fall short of providing source-specific information, making them hard to apply in small-scale management settings.

Using the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve (KPNR) as a case study, comparison between of a:

buffer framework which is to describing distances to water,

a nearest neighbor framework,

spatial location–allocation framework (SLAF) created in a geographic information system (GIS)

These three frameworks can be combined into one GIS to demonstrate site-specific information on water source distribution, in addition to system-wide descriptions. The visually accessible quality of a GIS allows qualitative input from managers and property owners to achieve quantifiable management goals. The duality of database and visual representation provides a useful tool to assess the role of individual water sources and can easily be updated to reflect changes in their distribution.

In this study, seasonal effects on the water source distribution are modeled first. Then two hypothetical management scenarios are modeled based on realistic management options for this reserve. For the first management scenario we map the resulting distribution when all artificially supplemented water sources are ‘turned on’ in the dry season.

Fig 1: Location of KNPR (Klaserie Private Nature Reserve)

Water sources in this study include seasonal pans, artificial pans and catchment dams as point sources and two major river courses, the Klaserie and the Olifants, which have perennial segments in KPNR.

Buffer framework

For the buffer framework, the locations of all the water sources tabulated during the wet season were buffered in concentric 1 km rings and clipped to the reserve boundary to assess the area of the reserve at different distances to water (Fig. 2a); this process was repeated for the dry season water sources (Fig. 2b) and then for the two hypothetical management scenarios and the results tabulated for comparison.

Fig 2(a): Buffer model showing distribution of distance to water classes during the KPNR wet season

Fig. 2(b): Buffer model showing distribution of distance to water classes during the KPNR dry season.

Nearest neighbour framework

The locations of the wet and dry season water points were used to calculate the nearest distance to river sections and then to nearest water source. The nearest neighbour distance between two point water sources was calculated as a vector, by minimizing the results of a triangular matrix calculator for Euclidian distance in Microsoft Excel©. The lesser of the distance to nearest river or nearest neighbour was taken as the nearest neighbour distance to water.

Spatial location–allocation framework (SLAF)

The simplest spatial representation of an unconstrained location–allocation model of supply points to demand regions uses the Dirichlet tessellation to generate Voronoi or Thiessen polygons (Okabe et al. 1992). A tessellation is essentially a mosaic, a tiling created in a geometric plane. This tessellation is created by the intersections of perpendicular bisectors between each point in a set.

The three frameworks used to assess the change in distribution of water points in the reserve yielded generalizations, which are useful as descriptors of system change, but can be hard to translate directly into management action on specific water sources. The advantage of the SLAF over the two other frameworks is that the area of the polygon associated with each water source is visually

Optimization of Bus stop locations using GIS as a tool for Chennai city- Acase study, R.Sankar, 2003

In a developing country like India every advancement depends upon the funds available. This influencing factor is considered as there is huge need of finance for the development of infrastructure such as laying of good, strong roads. The road grade is essential for having bus routes in a particular area. It is not possible to have bus stops in the interior where the grade is poorer. The density of population and the infrastructure go hand in hand, this is the reason for having many bus stops in close proximity in the main roads. While considering the financial status of the government it is also necessary to consider the status of the public. In a higher middle income, higher income groups the dependency on the public transit system is less making it less imperative to have more bus stops. Conversely the lower income group and the economically weaker section entirely depend upon the corporation buses for their transit. Finally the locations are graded based on the risk factors. The sites selected should not be near the junctions. Dangerous turnings are avoided.


Data collection is taking on the ground using GPS and the map of road network which include the position of each bus stop in term of coordinates. There are about 41 bus – stops between Vadapalani and Besent nagar, which is the study area. There are about 21 roads in the selected route. The network map is digitized. Digitization is done manually using On-screen method. The errors in the original maps will be transferred and they are likely magnified when digitized using GIS. Here arcs and nodes are defined by the user. The projection used here is polyconic which is considered the best suited for India. Arc View and Arc Info are the softwares used for digitization, transformation/projection and analysis.


Buffer analysis is made to determine the effected area. The minimum and maximum distances are given. Selected route in the network map which are given as buffer distances. If there is overlap in the buffers then a common point can be considered for the location of the stop such that there is no overlap. This point is selected considering other criteria also. Confluence of all parameters is essential before arriving into any decision. The similar way if the distance between two buffers are more this indicate that the area in the in between region is not properly served by any of the bus stops. In this case new bus stops can be created. Thus it is necessary to calculate based on all the parameters that none of the areas are under served or over served.

The route analysis was made the impedance value and the speed is given based on the vehicular volume on each road. The bus stops can be minimized in roads where there the existing traffic is high, additional positioning of these stops would add up to the traffic congestion. The locations of important centers such as hospitals, schools etc are also estimated for their proximity to the stops using the route analysis module. The time gained due to the reduction of the stops vice versa is also projected by having each location as a node and by giving a positive or negative value for the calculation of impedance. The demographic characteristics are also computed.



3.1 Introduction

This chapter will explain the methodology adopted in this study. The explanation starts with the introduction of adopted method for literature review, the method for data acquisition and the type of data acquired, data preparation and processing and followed by performing data analysis and results documentation and recording methods.

Project Planning

Data Preparation and Processing

Data Acquisition and type of

Data acquired

Analysis and Results

Fig. 3.1: Methodology Flow Sequence

3.2 Research Methodology

Project Planning

Selection of hardware and software (ArcGIS)

Selection of study area (Shah Alam)

Selection of data

Data Acquisition and Type of Data Acquired

Spatial data

1) Land use map

2) Route map

3) Layer Trace existing bus stop location using handheld GPS (X,Y).

Attribute name

1) Road name

2) Building

3) Population UiTM’s NR student source from HEP UiTM. (X,Y)

Data Preparation and Processing

Creating different Themes




Creating Attribute Tables

Analysis and Result




Compare existing bus stop location with the recommendation as requested safety reasons.

Proposed new bus stops based on the location of resident for Non-Resident students.

Compare the distance between two consecutive bus stops with the standard distance of travel by man by walk which is 400m. (source from MBSA)

Fig 3.2: Flow Chart of Methodology

Phase 1: Preliminary Study

Project Planning

1. Selection of Study Area

The city of Shah Alam has to be selected as study case area which covers section 2 until section 24. This study emphasized in the area with educational institutions especially UiTM since this study is focused on non-residents students.

2. Selection of Hardware and Software

Hardware for scanning, digitizing, and processing has been determined. Software that will be used is ArcMap. This software helps in digitizing also analysis.

3. Selection of Data

To select data, it needs to relate with problem statement. Data has been gathered from many of sources that will be explain in Data Collection.

Phase 2 : Data Acquisition and Type of Data Acquired

1. Spatial Data

Spatial data is data pertaining to the location and spatial dimensions of geographical entities


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