Preferences in regional public transport: a literature review

Joel Hansson, Fredrik Pettersson, Helena Svensson and Anders Wretstrand, European Transport Research Review, July 2019

The purpose of this article is to analyse quality attributes of regional public transport and their influence on modal choice, demand, and customer satisfaction through a literature review. The review is based on a working definition of regional public transport with boundaries toward local as well as interregional public transport: Regional public transport (i) targets passengers travelling between separate urban areas or to rural areas and (ii) a majority of the trips are made on a regular basis. Our results suggest that preferences of regional travellers mainly conform to the preferences of local travellers, but some important differences have been revealed. Most notably, on-board comfort is a higher priority for regional travellers and is increasingly important with longer travel times. Network coverage and coordination are also more prominent features of regional public transport, presumably due to the more dispersed nature of regional public transport networks. These differences, and the fact that the prerequisites for regional public transport are in general substantially different compared to local and interregional public transport, support continued use of this categorisation in public transport research. We also conclude that there is a requirement for more knowledge about the specifics of regional public transport, as public transport research, thus far, has been largely focused on local travel. Research areas of particular interest are on-board comfort, operational aspects, travel time improvements, how the environmental impact of public transport services affects modal choice, and the influence of trip length on passenger preferences.

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