The list of objectives, and even more their priority, will vary according to who is doing the planning (a commercial bus operator, a government body, or whatever), and who the target market is (commuters, shoppers etc.). In any planning exercise, defining the objectives is an essential first step. However, they are likely to include some or all of the following (in approximate order of priority);
- Accessibility – having bus stops and routes close enough to where the people are;
- Capacity – ensuring demand is met;
- Journey time – getting people where they want to go quickly;;
- Economy – meeting financial objectives;
- Convenience – being easy to use;
- Comprehensibility – being easy to understand;
- Integration with other modes – usually rail, Metro or tram;
- Integration with public policy – e.g. good links to employment sites;
- Environmental Factors – visual, noise, air quality etc;
- Safety – more an operational issue, but may affect both routing and location of stops;
- Sustainability – usually depends on the technology chosen.
Note that some of the above objectives may work against each other; e.g. curtailing bus routes at suburban Metro stations, rather than running them to downtown, may be good in terms of Integration with other modes, but may be less convenient for users.