Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Service area, optimization, equity, transit, paratransit, micromobility

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


This report presents optimization-based methods for the design of transportation service areas. The contribution of this report is twofold. First, optimization models are presented for service area design problems that simultaneously account for the goals of system operators and users, with particular emphasis on the objectives of reducing congestion and enhancing equity-in-access to transportation services. The models account for spatial coverage constraints that are specified in real-world situations to ensure equitable access to transportation services. Two service area design applications are considered. In the first application, the problem of designing transit routes and the accompanying paratransit service area is examined. This problem is of practical interest to US transit agencies given federal regulations that set minimum spatial coverage of paratransit services based on fixed transit route alignments. In the second application, the problem of defining the service area for dockless micromobility services is considered. This design problem is also of practical interest given the goal of cities to ensure equitable spatial access for emerging travel alternatives and the need for these alternatives to be economically viable. The second contribution of the report is a set of genetic algorithm-based heuristics designed to search for solutions to the proposed problems. In the heuristics, service areas are represented as polygons that are modified using easy-to-implement geometric operations. Numerical tests were performed to illustrate the application of the proposed design models and heuristics.

Policy Brief.pdf (251 kB)
Policy Brief