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Vehicle for Mobility - Advancing Public Passenger Transport in Europe

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport sectors
Passenger transport


Background & Policy context

Public transport (PT) plays a crucial role in society since it significantly contributes to more sustainable mobility systems in our cities and regions. A modal shift towards public transport can provide considerable societal benefits, including less traffic congestion, fewer emissions, reduced traffic risk and increased energy savings.

Public transport can also bring great benefits to citizens, mainly by improving transportation options, saving on costs and providing basic mobility needs, in particular for non-drivers.

In addition to direct benefits, public transport has a variety of indirect effects, such as boosting economic development and increasing property values or leading to more efficient land use patterns.  

As it stands, the long-term trend towards an ever-smaller modal share of public transport in Europe seems set to continue. However, in many, mostly larger European cities, the market share of PT has stabilised or even increased considerably in recent years. Thus, the trend of decreased PT usage cannot be said to be generalised since the development of patronage depends on many factors, such as quality of services, local policies, local economic development and lifestyles.  

In most Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries, a modal split that was clearly in favour of public transport fell significantly in the early 1990s, when the change to market economies fuelled huge rises in car ownership. This drop has slowed to a steady decline in the last few years in line with steady economic growth and the persisting poor social image of public transport.

Given the complex mobility patterns, new opportunities in technology, changing institutional frameworks and severe financial constraints, how can public transport take up the challenge?


The VOYAGER project aimed to consolidate current experience and 'to create a vision and make recommendations for the implementation of attractive, clean, safe, accessible, effective, efficient and financially viable European local and regional public transport systems for the year 2020'.

As a thematic network activity, the project's objective was to gather practitioners' input to assess whether results of current research and development are known by the stakeholders and whether these meet the needs of the sector.  

Another objective of the project was to provide a platform for all relevant actors to discuss future challenges for the public transport sector and to provide a clear set of recommendations and expectations from the public transport sector's perspective for inclusion in future research and policy agendas.


The VOYAGER project was organised in two phases, one dedicated to analysing the current situation of the public transport sector, while the second phase focused on strategic discussions in order to develop future research and policy recommendations.

Within the analysis phase, available research results were reviewed, and current scientific knowledge and existing good practices were collected, in order to draw a state-of-the-art overview.

The strategic phase started with the analysis of external mega trends that are likely to have an impact on the transport sector. Considering the future situation and the barriers from the previous phase, key challenges were identified and analysed that the PT sector has to meet until 2020. The identified key challenges were the foundation for development of policy and research recommendations for the future development of public transport.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
European Commission, Directorate-General for Energy and Transport (DG TREN)
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The state-of-the-art review identified a large number of problems for the public transport sector:

  • public transport often does not respond adequately to the changing activity patterns of customers;
  • limited financial resources are available for improving and maintaining PT infrastructure;
  • the development of integrated customer-oriented services is getting more difficult;
  • the low level of integration of operations management systems into overall company management systems;
  • the lack of financial resources for training and human resources management and development;
  • the potential benefits that a comprehensive marketing strategy can have on the development of public transport use are not fully appreciated;
  • the lack of reliable and sustainable operational financing models;
  • Policy implications

    Policy and research recommendations as drawn up during the VOYAGER project target all relevant stakeholders and call for concerted effort to stabilise and improve the position of public transport within the transport market.

    These recommendations can be summarised as follows:

    1. Responding better to customer needs/expectations;
    2. Improvement of stakeholder interactions;
    3. Strengthening public transport sector image;
    4. Improvement of public transport system efficiency;
    5. Improvement of funding and financing balances;
    6. Improvement of public transport’s attractiveness as employer;
    7. Improvement of safety and security;
    8. Improvement of environmental performance.

    The VOYAGER project has identified a number of key challenges to the public transport sector in Europe. These challenges touch upon several business areas (administration, communication, planning and operation) and include:

    • Along with sector transition into a more or less open market, operators will be forced to reconsider their management structure;
    • A genuine customer-oriented approach needs to be adopted by all staff members;
    • The scarcity of public funds will also prompt the need for a search for innovative investment and financing solutions;
    • Changing overall travel behaviour leads to new customer expectations that need to be tackled;
    • Public transport has to be considered as an element within the overall mobility chain. 

    Policy and research recommendations as drawn up during the VOYAGER project target all relevant stakeholders and call for concerted effort to stabilise and improve the position of public transport within the transport market.

    These recommendations can be summarised as follows:

    • Responding better to customer needs/expectations;
    • Improvement of stakeholder interactions;
    • Strengthening public transport sector image;
    • Improvement of public transport system efficiency;
    • Improvement of funding and financing balances;
    • Improvement of public transport's attractiveness as employer;
    • Improvement of safety and security;
    • Improvement of environmental performance. 


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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