Papaioannou: Public transit service quality and contracting

Professor Panagiotis (Panos) Papaioannou of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece, gave a special guest seminar for the UT-ITE Friday Seminar Series on March 23.

Following his presentation “Public Transit Service Quality and Contracting” and Q&A, Professor Papaioannou enjoyed a reunion with friends from his days at UofT as a Postdoctoral Fellow working with Professor Ezra Hauer in the mid-1980s.

Group of three professors

(L-R) Profs Baher Abdulhai, Panos Papaioannou and Khandker Nurul Habib


Public transit plays a continuously increasing role in today’s societies both in urban and regional areas all over the world. Investments in public transit infrastructure and equipment have been increasing in the last decade in most countries in North America and Europe. The same applies to the developing countries where the impacts of fast and uncontrolled motorization often create more problems that they solve. However, creating a successful public transit system is a complex issue. It requires several different components to be set together and function properly, such as market organization, legal environment, role of transport authorities and proper public transport service contracts.

The presentation will provide a brief description of the different market organization alternatives and the different tendering and contracting options. The most common contract types such as net cost, gross cost, management contract etc. will be presented along with real world examples. Quality based contracts will also be shown. The concept of quality will be explained emphasizing on the differences between the North American and the EU approach. The so-called quality loop, used in the European Norm for Public Transit quality, will be explained. Finally, the way public transit performance indicators along with Customer Satisfaction Index are taken into account for the evaluation of the performance of public transit operators will be shown.

Click here for PDF of Professor Papaioannou’s presentation.

Short biography

Panagiotis (Panos) Papaioannou is a Transportation Engineer and Economist. He is Professor at the Transport Dept, School of Civil Engineering at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Professor Papaioannou was Visiting Professor at McMaster University in Canada (MITL) from 2015-2016 and Chairman of the Public Transport Authority of Thessaloniki (THEPTA) from March 2010 to January 2013 representing the Greek Minister for Transport. The areas of his specialization include Mobility Management, Public Transit, Transport Economics, Traffic Management, Road Safety, Applications of New Technologies in Transport, Project Evaluation and Public Procurement Law.

Professor Papaioannou has been participating in numerous European Union research projects in the last two decades addressing transport research and policy areas as well as travel behaviour, Public transit and road safety topics. Professor Papaioannou is the author of 150+ scientific papers published in journals and proceedings of international conferences as well as several other publications in the transport sector.

This seminar was presented by the University of Toronto Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Student Chapter.