Through a long period, several projects have been carried out to study alternatives for operation, financing and organisation of public transport. The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is expected to have good knowledge also about public transport. It was desired to collect and publish an overview of some of the knowledge and experience gained.
The objective was to produce a guidance handbook, aimed at giving planners in road offices, transport and communications departments and public transport companies advice on how to best implement differentiated public transport services.
Targeted (or differentiated) public transport can be defined as public transport provision which is adapted to the market, i.e. oriented towards a defined market and adapted to the needs of existing and potential users.
The project involved the production of a handbook summarising current knowledge in the field by describing good examples, the planning process and how to evaluate the measures being implemented. As the handbook deals primarily with measures for local public transport, the study focuses on public transport by bus.
Two main types of market adapted public transport provision are dealt with:
- public transport services attracting large volumes of traffic, and
- 'tailor-made' services for specific groups of customers (for example the elderly or special workplace transport services).
The handbook summarises current knowledge in the field by describing good examples, the planning process and how to evaluate the measures being implemented. It is distinguished between two types of market for the services: public transport services attracting large volumes of traffic, and "tailor-made" services for specific groups of customers.
It looks firstly at the evaluation of public transport service provision by its users. A review of current knowledge and previous studies in Norway and elsewhere shows the following key findings:
- When a journey time component has a high value, walking time to the bus stop is regarded as a major disadvantage. This means that there is a high level of willingness to pay in order to reduce walking time;
- Journey time when standing is regarded as a greater disadvantage than journey time with a seat;
- The longer the journey time, the more passengers are willing to pay more to reduce it;
- The higher the frequency, the less passengers are willing to pay more to increase frequency even further;
- Users are willing to pay more to avoid delays;
- Changing buses is seen as a disadvantage (in terms of physical changing and the time penalty);
- Users are willing to pay more for covered stations or shelters at stops.
Analyses of different user groups' preferences vary somewhat (e.g. it was found that men value frequency slightly higher than women, however women are more concerned with improving the waiting conditions at bus stops), however on the whole such differences are small. Thus, targeted public transport should not be over-stretched, as this could make the market base too small.
Key results regarding services which attract large streams of traffic are as follows:
- In Norway (as elsewhere), public transport is facing increased competition from the car, and if public transport service levels and quality (vehicle fleets, fares, frequency, etc) remain constant, public transport use will fall by 1.6% per year in Norway's ten largest urban areas. Therefore continuous, targeted development of public transport is required to maintain (and ideally increase) market share.
- Positive developments in some medium-sized urban areas in Austria, Switzerland and Germany were found to have increase public transport use. Key factors included adapting public transport to users' needs; increased frequency; having fixed timetables; having a simple route network with good area coverage and interchange; standard d
It is expected that the use of this guidance will provide examples and experiences for further improvements in public transport services.