A radial route is a public transport route linking a central point in a city or town, usually in the central business district (CBD), with a suburb (or satellite) of that city or town. Such a route can be operated by various forms of public transport, including commuter rail, rapid transit, trams (streetcars), trolleybuses, or motor buses.
Typically, a pair of radial routes will be combined, solely for operational reasons, into a single cross-city route, between one suburb and another suburb. A cross-city route of that type is sometimes called a through route. A public transport operator may combine radial routes into a through route because terminating a route in a city or town centre has certain disadvantages:
- Vehicles can cause congestion while standing between journeys and when turning.
- Valuable land is often occupied with route terminal facilities.
- Time is wasted by vehicles turning round or reversing (reducing vehicle utilization and increasing costs).
- Passengers wishing to travel across the city or town centre will have to change vehicles or walk for part of their journeys.
- Schedules are less likely to be disrupted by congestion (since there can be provision for recovery time in the city center).
- Convenient interchange between routes may be provided at a common terminal.
- Fare structures are less complex.
- "Route Planning". Urban Bus Toolkit. World Bank Group / Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility. Retrieved 27 October 2012. External link in
- El-Hifnawi, M (2002). "Cross-town bus routes as a solution for decentralized travel: a cost-benefit analysis for Monterrey, Mexico". Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice. 36 (2). Retrieved 27 October 2012.