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How can we get young people to choose public transport?

What do young adults think about travel by public transport? In collaboration with Västtrafik, the K2 researcher Christina Stave together with Niklas Strand and Eva Åström has looked at what is needed for young adults will want to continue to use public transport after high school.

Many young people are abandoning public transport when they have finished high school and no longer receive any public transit passes from school. In order to know what can be done to make it possible for them to continue to go, Christina Stave, K2 and VTI, studied the needs and experiences of public transport of pupils between 18 and 20 years. She presented her results at the Transport Forum in Linköping in January:

– Västtrafik see that many young people are abandoning public transport when they have finished school and want to know what is needed for them to find that public transport is attractive and continue to use public transport.

Surprisingly positive

In order to obtain material for the study, a number of young people had been interviewed about their daily travel. But to get participants was easier said that done. After various attempts to reach young people via their mobile phones, the researchers tested to send 9000 text messages. 24 young adults enrolled.

– At first, we thought it would not work with so few participants, but there was great discussion about how young adults perceive their travels and what they think about the future. We got together a rich material, notes Christina Stave, who at the time of the Transport Forum was still in the middle of the work of analysis but still could see several clear trends.

– A surprise was the young people's positive attitude towards public transport. Most of them want to continue to go after high school, however, doubtful to whether they will be able to afford before they have gained an income.

Unga som väntar på bussen. Ungdomarna på bilden har inget med forskningsprojektet att göra. Foto: TT Bildbank

Want to be left alone during the trip

The research showed, among other things, that:

  • The driver's driving style and treatment is important for the experience.
  • Young people want to be left alone during the trip to rev up on the way to school, and down when going home.

– They sit in their own bubble and listen on their mobile. They do not like crowds or stand as packed herrings because it means they can not get this vital set-up time, says Christina Stave and wonders about the need to be alone on the way to school or work is what determines people's choices of transport.

– If public transport companies meet the need, that we humans want to be alone, perhaps the transport to and from work can be a really healthy option.

The research project will be completed by summer 2017.

Paula Isaksson
freelance writer

Calendar from K2