Increased Accessibility and More Demand-orientated Public Transport Services in Rural Areas by Integrated Transports: Case Studies in the Swedish Municipalities of Varberg and Olofström
S-A Bjerkemo, Bjerkemo Konsult, SE
In Sweden, public transportation including complementary transportation in rural areas, transport of school children, STS (Special Transport Services for elderly and disabled) facilities and public health care transportation are publicly subventionized to a great extent but organised in different ways.
Separate demand-responsive treatments (DRT) are commonly used in Sweden for public transportation in sparsely populated areas. Due to their cost, use of them is very often much restricted and thus not being very useful to people. They are used to a very small extent, the costs per trip are rising. This creates a vicious circle with increased dependency on cars and social exclusion as a result.
The present paper suggests and explores a different approach to this problem. More intensive use of vehicles used now simply for the transportation of children or for STS or health care transport purposes could contribute considerably to creating transportation possibilities not presently being offered.
This requires use of integrated planning systems, integrated information and booking facilities and computer support so as to exploit the transport facilities involved in meeting needs of the public at large as well.
In the munuicipality of Varbery, integration of STS and regular bus lines was tested using cooperating computerised systems and providing extensive personal information for the STS customers. More than 10% of the STS trips taken were transferred in this way to regular bus lines. This also increased the mobility by some 5% for the STS customers involved.
No serious problems inintegrating these modes were noted, although somewhat more help with bags than was provided was desired on the part of STS customers.
Generally, the approach of integrated use of computerised systems was found to be very successful and should be further developed to include all public subventionized transports. In Varberg, for techincal resasons the transportation of school children could not readily be integrated.
In the municipality of Olofstroem, all publicly subventionized transportation was investigated determing their energy consumption, possibilities for reducing emissions and explore more sustainable transport solutions. The degree of emissions per trip for a person was found to be more closely related to the cabin factor (share of seats used) than to the size of the vehicles.
It was also shown that as many rounds of exclusive school transports were made as of bus trips by trunk and local bus lines. They were also found to cover the rural area much better. It was also shown that there were several free seats in these vehicles that could be offered regularly for public use generally.
The goals of the integrated transportation in Varbery were developed further. It was found that an intermediate booking form involving trips t which users could subscribe would facilitate the integration envisioned and offer more attractive transportation opportunities with fixed departure times and no need for pre-ordering each time.
Through use of Internet and other modern technology, the stratefy just described can easily be extended to comprise medical and small goods delivery, private car-sharing services and car-pooling as well. The increased mobility gained reduces people's dependency upon cars, facilitates more sustainable transportation and reduces social exclusion.
Association for European Transport