Studies in Local Public Transport Demand

University dissertation from Linköping : Linköping University Electronic Press

Abstract: This thesis consists of four papers where the overall purpose is to contribute to the understanding of how local public transport demand is affected by different factors. An underlying theme running trough the thesis is the two-way relationship between public transport demand and the service level caused by the fact that capacity and quality are joint products.In Paper I the relationship between public transport demand and the service level (in terms of vehicle-kilometres) is investigated using panel data from Swedish counties. A Granger causality test is performed in order to test if the level of service cause public transport demand or if demand cause service level, or if they cause each other. It is found that demand and service cause each other, which is to say that there is a two-way relationship between them.In Paper II elasticity estimates for local public transport demand from previous research are summarised and the variation in results is analysed using meta-regression. The variation is explained by model specification, type of data used and origin of data.In Paper III a demand function for local public transport is estimated using panel data from Swedish counties. Instrument variable estimation is used in order to avoid the problem of a two-way relationship between demand and service level (vehicle-kilometres). Demand elasticities with respect to public transport fare, price of petrol, vehicle-kilometres and car ownership are found to be -0.4, 0.34, 0.55, and -1.37. After also taking the effects of income on car ownership into account, it is found that the total effect of income on public transport demand is close to zero.In Paper IV it is found that the strong increase in public transport demand in the town of Linköping between 1946 and 1983, in addition to fare, vehicle-kilometres and car ownership, can be explained by the rapid increase in female labour force participation and the expansion of the city’s outer areas. The city expansion is thought to have increased average trip distance and thereby reduced the number of trips that could be made walking or by bicycle. After 1983, female labour force participation decreased slightly and the expansion of the areas in question has stopped. Without these positive forces to counterbalance the rising levels of car ownership bus trips per capita has fallen by 71%. The effects of a policy change, including peak-load pricing, straighter bus routes, smaller bus size and staggered school hours, is analysed. It is found that the proposed changes would increase public transport travel by 42 % compared to present policy.