The Demand for Public Transport:
a Practical Guide

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The guide, produced by a consortium comprising TRL and partners from academia and the commercial transport industry, on behalf of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) describes how various factors influence the demand for public transport. The new guide updates the 1980 TRL publication “The Demand for Public Transport” and should provide a vital reference source to key stakeholders, such as public transport operators and central and local government.

In 1980 the then Transport and Road Research Laboratory, now TRL, published the original international collaborative report which for over twenty years has been the seminal piece of work on demand evaluation in setting out the factors affecting public transport patronage at the time. However the values of many of the parameters under consideration have changed, new methodologies and concepts have emerged and the institutional, socio-economic, environmental and legal framework is substantially different.

In reviewing the publication, TRL worked with science based partners, the Transport Studies Unit - University of Oxford ; Institute for Transport Studies - University of Leeds ; Transport Studies Group - University of Westminster and the Centre for Transport Studies - University College London. Industrial based support came from The Association of Train Operating Companies, the Confederation of Passenger Transport, the Rees Jeffreys Road Fund, the Greater Manchester Public Transport Executive and public transport operators.

Analysis and research by using primary and secondary data sources on the factors influencing the demand for public transport was pursued to produce a document that assists in identifying cost-effective schemes for improving services. The project involved the identification of data sources and initial analysis of overall trends in the bus and rail industries in Britain , and the analysis of the effects of fares, service quality, incomes, car ownership, land use, population, employment and wider transport policies on public transport demand.

The resulting report: “The demand for public transport – a practical guide” is published as TRL Report 593 .

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