Melbourne SmartBus Operational Planning


Operations Planning and Resource Optimisation

Melbourne SmartBus Operational Planning

Client: Victorian Department of Transport, Australia
Date: 2007–2010

Project Description

Phillip Boyle & Associates provided specialist operations planning and implementation support, as well as designing information systems, for the Department of Transport’s SmartBus team. The project involved a range of SmartBus routes across Melbourne, including the ‘Yellow Orbital’ (Route 901) airport extension and ‘Green Orbital’ (Route 902) services.


Routes 901 and 902 were successfully implemented in 2010 and have achieved high levels of efficiency and patronage. The Green Orbital Implementation Team received the Industry Achiever Award at the 2010 BusVic Industry Awards.

Scope of Works

Key Tasks

The main tasks for routes 901 and 902 included:

  • Developing run times, based on existing route operations, and incorporating changed traffic conditions
  • Developing the operating timetable
  • Creating vehicle blocks and driver shifts
  • Creating stop-specific timetables for real-time information
  • Producing a range of information tools to integrate with downstream systems (e.g. the Metlink timetable system, vehicle monitoring systems, real-time information systems).

Key Challenges

The operations planning task presented Phillip Boyle & Associates with a number of challenges as the new routes had distinctive features, including:

  • New sections and substantial new priority treatments – running times estimations were therefore complex
  • Extremely long one-way route sections (3–4 hours in each direction)
  • Operations from three depots, each run by a different operator with unique rules and operating requirements.

Route 900 SmartBus

Smartbus Bus
SmartBus map (from the Victorian Transport Plan)


"Phillip Boyle consistently provided a high level of expertise, advice and management of the scheduling process. His strong technical skills and thorough understanding of transport operations were major assets to the provision of the Olympic and Paralympic games transportation services."

Organising Committee for the Athens Olympic Games, Athens 2004

"Phillip Boyle & Associates has supported the development of the SmartBus program through the planning and implementation phases. In particular on Route 901 and 902 he developed the timetable and worked with the multiple bus operators to create scheduling solutions for implementation. This included not only creating the vehicle runs and crew shifts but also development of information for the systems that support SmartBus technologies. In each case implementation went very smoothly and high levels of scheduling efficiency were achieved. Phillip’s operational expertise and ability to successfully work with the bus operators involved was critical to the successful implementation of these services."

Chris Bright, Manager SmartBus, Department of Transport, Victoria

"Phillip Boyle & Associates provided outstanding expertise in assisting Sydney Ferries with development of its successful operating bid, driving the development of a range of “outside the box” options aimed at improving service quality and increasing efficiency levels. Phillip Boyle’s combination of technical operations capabilities and commercial experience provided Sydney Ferries with significant benefits during this process."

Denis Mole, Chief Operating Officer, Sydney Ferries, NSW

"A highly successful implementation has been achieved, complete with substantial network changes and a complete rewriting of all operating timetables. During the scheduling process Phillip Boyle & Associates worked closely with both TransLink and ourselves to achieve the best possible outcomes. As a result the operation has been made simpler and substantially more robust. Implementation was helped significantly by Phillip Boyle’s operational planning and scheduling expertise."

Paul Davies, General Manager, Westside Bus Service, Queensland

"Phillip Boyle & Associates provided outstanding planning, operations and implementation expertise. The project was difficult due to the complex nature of the service (local, intertown and line haul services operating under a timed-transfer system) and the number of stakeholders involved. Phillip Boyle’s hands-on approach ensured a difficult implementation went smoothly. He worked effectively with a variety of stakeholders ranging from large and small bus companies, Department of Transport staff, Metlink and local government representatives. Not only did Mr Boyle help to redesign the service, but he also drove the implementation, including development of a regional timetable in a new format."

John Storrie, General Manager – Strategic Planning & Policy, Department of Transport, Victoria

"Phillip Boyle provided scheduling support for Brisbane Transport over several projects spanning almost ten years. The range of projects he has assisted with cover the scheduling, planning and human resources disciplines. In that time he has demonstrated high levels of scheduling, planning and operations expertise. I look forward to working with Phillip Boyle & Associates in the future and would highly recommend them to an organisation looking for planning, operations or scheduling expertise."

Roman Gafa, Network Scheduling Manager, Brisbane Transport, Queensland

"Phillip Boyle & Associates developed our operating bid for the V/Line services. Not only did they assist with format, structure and content, but also developed our operating plan and pricing strategies. Our bid success was due in no small part to the professionalism of Phillip Boyle, his ability to prepare a high-quality operating bid, and his detailed understanding of operations. Upon winning the bid, Phillip Boyle & Associates provided implementation support and advice necessary to ensure a successful implementation of the services."

Frank Bono, Managing Director, Firefly Express, Victoria

"Having worked with Phillip Boyle over many years I can say without a doubt he provides industry-leading expertise in the planning, scheduling and operation of public transportation services. His recent work on the Advanced Transit Scheduling Manual reinforced this view."

Dan Boyle, President, Dan Boyle & Associates, USA