Willingness to Pay for Bus Rapid Transit: an Examination of the Influence of Psychographics on Choice
G Whelan, J Crockett, L Hunt and C Sinclair, MVA Consultancy, UK
The research successfully incorporates psychographic variables relating to respondent attitudes and values within a choice modelling framework to aid the understanding of differences in the willingness to pay for Bus Rapid Transit services.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a term used to describe high quality bus-based urban public transport. The improvement in service quality of BRT over conventional bus services is most often achieved though investment in infrastructure, vehicles and timetabling. In the UK, interest is growing as Central Government has suggested that BRT can bring value for money solutions in a shorter delivery timeframe than light rail and is encouraging some scheme promoters to consider bus-based alternatives.
BRT schemes are often characterised by high levels of service quality and, as such, have the potential to provide significant benefits to travellers. Any assessment of the likely impacts of new schemes must therefore take these benefits into account. It is the aim of the research reported here to quantify traveller ?willingness to pay? for a range of BRT service attributes including: service frequency, journey time, vehicle quality, fare collection methods and vehicle power.
The research is based on a self completion questionnaire survey of people travelling between Sheffield and Rotherham in the North of England. The questionnaire incorporates a set of attitudinal questions concerning public transport, the environment and social responsibility; two interlinked stated preference experiments involving a choice between public transport modes and alternative BRT specifications; and respondent ratings on the influence of key service attributes on mode choice.
A dataset of 730 questionnaire responses was assembled and analysed using a combination of factor analysis and advanced discrete choice modelling techniques. Willingness to pay estimates for BRT were subsequently derived from a choice model with a mixed GEV structure incorporating attitudinal responses and attribute ratings as well as choice attributes themselves. The inclusion of this psychographic information provides an interesting insight into taste variation across market segments as well as enhancing the explanatory power of the model.
The headline results suggest that, all else being equal, travel on-board BRT imposes 92% of the disutility of an equivalent journey by conventional bus, and travel by Light Rail 78% of the disutility. Evaluation of individual attributes of BRT shows that electric power supply and a light, airy appearance with minimal clutter and clear lines of sight are both valued positively. Inclusion of the former is valued at a rate equivalent to a 3.5 minute reduction in travel time, with a corresponding value for the latter of 2.2 minutes. By contrast, payment to a ticket machine, as opposed to a conductor or driver, imposes a penalty equal to a travel time increase of 3.8 minutes.
In conclusion, the research successfully incorporates psychographic variables relating to respondent attitudes and values within a choice modelling framework to aid the understanding of differences in the willingness to pay for BRT services across market segments.
Association for European Transport