Social utilities difficult to catch

Public transport is more than just transporting people between different places. If the role was most about commuting and leisure trips today, several dimensions of social development are being raised. Social benefits are one aspect.

The broader role has meant that it can be difficult to break down long-term visions into concrete goals that can be followed up. So what role do socioeconomic analyzes have in urban and regional public transport?

This was one of the issues discussed when K2 organized a workshop on the effects, values and evaluation of public transport on Friday 28 April. There, the results were presented from some of the projects run within the framework of K2's research area Public Transport's contribution to social development.

Socioeconomic calculations are rare

"We do what we must, but not more", that is to say, it is no more than what is required in terms of evaluation. This is one of the conclusions presented by Erik Johansson, K2 and Lund University, in an interview study on how regional public transport planners work on understanding and evaluating social benefits in public transport.

The study raises questions about how goals and visions are translated into action, how individual actions are evaluated and how far it is possible to distinguish between goals, visions and how they can be evaluated. The study also confirms previous research that rarely makes formal socioeconomic calculations in local and regional collective traffic planning.

Uses the option value in public transport

Erik Johansson took the participants through the arrangement of his and Anders Bondemark, WSP, report how the option value, by using a better measure of the geographical availability, can be used in public transport. However, people who do not travel by public transport can appreciate that there is access to public transport, such as the day the car suddenly breaks.

There are several different analytical tools that can be used to develop decision making in public transport initiatives. What social effects do you need to take into account? And what assessment do public transport operators make of the possibilities of using different analysis tools for calculating the social impact of major public transport investments? Based on a case study of Spårväg Syd in Stockholm, these questions are studied in a focus group survey.

Spårväg Syd is a major investment in an area with already good public transport.

- The utility is great but the costs enormous, said Anna Anund, K2 and VTI, who conducted the survey.

Hard to include social benefits

An effect that was described as difficult to include in the analyzes of Spårväg Syd was the social benefits. They are not easy to get into existing models, and today's calculations also do not deal with, for example, congestion effects and land values. That were some of the reflections made in the focus groups.

Seminariet arrangerades på Kollektivtrafikens hus i Stockholm

Emma Morin, Region Skåne, presented the research project "The community benefit of planned public transport measures in Skåne" and demonstrated qualitative and quantitative benefits for regional bus, city express/tram and regional trains. The overall conclusion amounts to SEK 9 billion in benefits such as passenger benefits, environment, road safety, taxes and health.

Summarizes new research

With regard to future challenges, Désirée Nilsson, K2 and Malmö University presented a progress report of the knowledge overview and summary of new research in the field. Désirée Nilsson noted, among other things, that there are quantified effects of measures that are largely aimed at making travel more efficient. Two examples are through increased accessibility and increased supply, for example, to reduce travel time.

Knowledge of the power of action in local and regional public transport is not aggregated but is available in many different documents and that there are many planning manuals. These, however, present good examples, but have few concrete and quantified power links.

- It was interesting to take part in discussions about the benefits of public transport and why we subsidize public transport, although it is not always profitable in money, says Gunnel Bångman from the Swedish Transport Administration, who was one of the participants.

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