Quick Summary – The International Bus Benchmarking Group (IBBG) was established in 2004 to provide a confidential forum for medium and large bus organisations located around the world to learn from each other by comparing performance, sharing experiences, and identifying best practices.

What is Benchmarking?

The process of benchmarking can be defined as “a structured approach to identify actions that lead to superior performance”. Benchmarking is not merely a comparison of performance data or a creation of league tables. Performance measurements, for example, deliver little benefit on their own, but they stimulate productive questions and lines of enquiry for more in-depth analysis and research.

Objectives of the IBBG

Information Exchange

To provide an independent, confidential, and effective forum for information exchange at an expert level, promoting fast access to information and building a network of multidisciplinary contacts.

Measure performance

To provide a system of objective measures to identify best practices. Achieved by identifying: who are the best performances and how can members learn from them? Who has improved and how? What are each member’s strength and weakness? How much improvement can be expected?

Dynamic and Flexible

To provide a work program that is focused on the highest priority needs of the members and direct efforts towards the areas that will produce the greatest benefits. The group, which is owned and run by its participants, achieve this flexibility by taking a balanced approach towards the group size: small enough to facilitate communication and networking but with a critical mass and diversity of experiences and practices.


To complement other public transport organisations such as UITP, APTA, CUTA, etc. by providing a concise group of bus operators with a tailored performance measurement and best practice exchange structure to meet the group’s specific objectives.

Guiding Principles of the IBBG

All IBBG activities are carried out within a framework of confidentiality to ensure honest and open information exchange. Any information that is released externally is therefore anonymised and indexed. In addition to confidentiality, the groups guiding principles include: independence, collaboration, speed, depth, continuity, and compliance with competition law. These principles are central to its success.

IBBG Work Program

The IBBG undertakes a variety of detailed case studies each year in wide-ranging but focused areas of bus management. These study topics are chosen by the IBBG members to ensure their most current interests are researched and discussed. The studies rely on questionnaires as well as interviews with the organisations’ experts in the topic. Many studies identify best practices in operations and management; others offer key insights that can drive strategy and policy and provide information to support better dialogue with city governments, regulators, and other stakeholders.

The IBBG uses 35 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) across a balanced scorecard of six categories: growth & learning, customer, internal processes, safety & security, environment, and financial performance. The indicators are comprehensive so as to represent all the different parts of the business, yet concise enough to be able to be used effectively by an organisation. The data set behind this set of indicators is collected to standard definitions by all the group members on an annual basis.

Performance is impacted by factors both within and outside management control. It has therefore been important to understand external effects on bus organisation performance and the KPIs are often normalised to account for the local cost of labour, for example, or the density of the city. Time series analysis show which members are changing their practices and what improvements are relatively achievable.

Since 2009, the IBBG has conducted an annual Customer Satisfaction Survey. All participating IBBG cities conduct this survey at the same time, so that they can find out what their passengers think of the service they provide. These cities will compare the results of the surveys, so that they can learn from each other and work towards giving customers an even better service.

Administration of the Group

The group is administered and facilitated by the  Transport Strategy Centre (TSC) at Imperial College London, a world leader in public transit benchmarking.  The TSC was set up in 1992 to serve the transport industry on strategic, technology, economic and policy issues and as a research and teaching unit within the Centre for Transport Studies.

Other Benchmarking Groups

IBBG is one of a family of benchmarking groups facilitated by the Transport Strategy Centre. These include both North American and international benchmarking groups for the metro, bus, rail, and airport sectors. All combined, they represent more than 100 transport organisations. The other current groups are the:

  • Community of Metros (COMET)
  • International Suburban Rail Benchmarking Group (ISBeRG)
  • American Bus Benchmarking Group (ABBG)
  • Benchmarking Group of North American Light Rail Systems (GOAL)
  • International Mainline Rail Benchmarking Group (IMRBG)
  • Railway Infrastructure Asset Management Benchmarking Group (RIAMBiG)
  • Airport Benchmarking Group (ABG)
  • FLIRT Optimisation and Innovation Group (FLIRT)
COMET website
ISBeRG website
ABBG website
GOAL website
IMRBG logo
RIAMBiG website
FLIRT logo