Funding Public Transport Within Financial Constraints: the PMF System
G Walters, R Childs, Halcrow Group, UK; R Riley, Nottinghamshire County Council, UK
The provision of a comprehensive public transport network is very rarely accomplished without some form of financial support from a local, regional or national authority. In turn, the budgets these bodies have available to support a network are seldom large enough to satisfy all demands for service requirements, so trade-offs are required to decide the extent of service coverage, whether geographically or temporally. Historically, this has always been a significant consideration, but growing constraints on government spending in the UK mean that public transport provision is facing new challenges in determining the services to support. Very real trade offs have to be made within support giving bodies to balance declining budgets, where some activities have a statutory status that means they can not be eliminated completely.
This paper reports on the ?Performance Management Framework? (PMF), a systematic multi-criteria technique in the analysis of public transport service provision through the comparison of contracts ,which can be used to assess the effects of budget changes on a public transport network under different scenarios. A key element of the PMF technique is that it brings non-financial criteria, such as demographic features of the area served by a public transport service into the decision-making process in a rigorous way.
Traditionally, monitoring of the effects of service provision has centred around contract evaluation in financial terms. Introducing non-financial criteria allows the authority to assess the ?value? of supporting services in meeting its wider goals, particularly relating to social inclusion and the environment.
The PMF was initially developed by Halcrow and Nottinghamshire County Council as a means to address these key issues. It is in active use in Nottinghamshire and is continually developed. The PMF has also been utilised in the consideration of bus services in other local authority areas in the UK.
Association for European Transport