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  • sin.interval between trains
  • ca interval m entre trens
  • de Zugfolgezeit f
  • es intervalo m entre trenes
  • eu trenen arteko tarte
  • fr intervalle m entre deux trains consécutifs
  • gl intervalo m entre trens
  • it intervallo m fra treni
  • pt intervalo m entre comboios


Headway is the distance or duration between vehicles in a transit system measured in space or time. The minimum headway is the shortest such distance or time achievable by a system without a reduction in the speed of vehicles. The precise definition varies depending on the application, but it is most commonly measured as the distance from the tip (front end) of one vehicle to the tip of the next one behind it. It can be expressed as the distance between vehicles, or as time it will take for the trailing vehicle to cover that distance. A "shorter" headway signifies closer spacing between the vehicles. Airplanes operate with headways measured in hours or days, freight trains and commuter rail systems might have headways measured in parts of an hour, metro and light rail systems operate with headways on the order of 90 seconds to 20 minutes, and vehicles on a freeway can have as little as 2 seconds headway between them.
Headway is a key input in calculating the overall route capacity of any transit system. A system that requires large headways has more empty space than passenger capacity, which lowers the total number of passengers or cargo quantity being transported for a given length of line (railroad or highway, for instance). In this case, the capacity has to be improved through the use of larger vehicles. On the other end of the scale, a system with short headways, like cars on a freeway, can offer relatively large capacities even though the vehicles carry few passengers.
The term is most often applied to rail transport and bus transport, where low headways are often needed to move large numbers of people in mass transit railways and bus rapid transit systems. A lower headway requires more infrastructure, making lower headways expensive to achieve. Modern large cities require passenger rail systems with tremendous capacity, and low headways allow passenger demand to be met in all but the busiest cities. Newer signalling systems and moving block controls have significantly reduced headways in modern systems compared to the same lines only a few years ago. In principle, automated personal rapid transit systems and automobile platoons could reduce headways to as little as fractions of a second.

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