Transit Travel Time Reliability: Percent change in MetroBus on-time performance


Capital Metro introduced Cap Remap, its redesigned bus network, in June 2018 to offer better connections (serving more people), reliability (improved on-time performance) and frequency (more often) of service. Since this implementation on-time performance has improved from 82.5% in FY2017 to 84.8% in FY2020. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic congestion presented one of the largest challenges to maintaining schedules.


Historically this measure has performed below its stated goal for Capital Metro buses. However, with the introduction of the Automatic Vehicle Location System on board transit vehicles in 2015, a larger data set allows for comprehensive in-depth analysis and continuous monitoring of services that enables quick adjustments to address on-time performance issues. In the last two years, on-time performance has improved, meeting the stated goal of 83%.
Note: To see the underlying data for this chart, please select the "View Source Data" link.
On-time performance for Capital Metro buses is affected by multiple factors including route and stop designs, the presence or absence of transit priority technologies and infrastructure, and traffic congestion variability. MetroRail trains, for example, travel in dedicated right-of-way that is unaffected by other traffic, and therefore can maintain an on-time performance of 97% or higher. This is in contrast with most bus routes, which generally share the road with other traffic and therefore have lower on-time performance. Capital Metro and the City of Austin work continuously to improve transit speed and reliability through bus stop optimization, signal timing adjustments, transit priority treatments, and other infrastructure projects. This important work is critical to creating and maintaining a public transportation system that is an attractive alternative to driving. Retaining and attracting transit riders is essential for Austin to reach our mobility goals as outlined in the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan, including our transit mode share. For more information about the City and Capital Metro’s collaborative work to enhance transit service in Austin, please visit

Additional Measure Insights

Capital Metro uses this information to understand and improve route performance, manage operations and enhance the customer experience.

Measure Details and Definition

1) Definition:  On-time performance is a measure of how vehicles adhere to published schedules or headways (frequencies). It is the percentage of time a route was on-time and on schedule

2) Calculation method:  This measure is calculated by the following formula:

Fixed Route OTP Calculation:

• All calculations are made at timepoints. (A timepoint is a public transit stop, which a vehicle tries to reach at a scheduled time. A vehicle is not supposed to leave a timepoint until the schedule time has passed. Not all stops are timepoints.)
• Early = a bus departs more than 0 seconds before the scheduled time
• Late = a bus departs more than 360 seconds (or 6 minutes) after the scheduled time
• On time = a bus departs between 0 and 360 seconds (or 6 minutes) of the scheduled time
• All End of Line (EOL) timepoints are excluded from the calculation.
Flyers/Express Fixed routes: 
• Flyers and express routes are allowed to make best time at certain points toward the end of a trip.
UT Shuttle Fixed Routes:
• Only the first time point is included in the calculation for UT Shuttle routes.
Example of Fixed-Route OTP calculation: If Schedule Time - Departure Time < 0 then "Early" else If Schedule Time - Departure Time > 360 then "Late" else "On time"
• If Schedule Time is 8 a.m. and Departure time is 7:59:30 a.m., then the bus departed "Early."
• If Schedule Time is 8 a.m. and Departure time is 8:07 a.m., then the bus departed "Late."
• If Schedule Time is 8 a.m. and Departure time is 8:05 a.m., then the bus departed "On time."
MetroRapid OTP Calculation:
• Rapid bus service runs on a headway-based schedule, meaning on-time performance is based on a bus’s separation from other buses on the same route.
• Earlies are not counted in the current definition and Lates are based on 5 minutes or 50% of the headway, whichever is less.
Example below:
• MetroRapid’s published frequency is 10 minutes.
• If a bus has a 10-minute headway, then it would be late if it arrived at a stop more than 15 minutes after the previous bus (10-minute headway + 5 minutes of on-time allowance).
3) Data Collection Process: 
On-time performance (OTP) data is collected through the Capital Metro Intelligent Transportation System (Automatic Vehicle Location-AVL) on each vehicle. As a vehicle passes a time point, the arrival and departure time are automatically recorded for the vehicle and compared to the published schedule for that route. Only select stops along a route are timepoints, and they are published on the Capital Metro website. MetroRapid routes are measured based on the published headways. The data is extensively reviewed to ensure accuracy.

4) Measure Target Calculation: Capital Metro’s on-time performance goal is 83%. This goal was developed based on experience as to what was achievable and is written into the provider contracts as the stated goal for operational performance.

5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Fiscal Year)

Date page was last updated: March 2021