Modelling and Observing the Effects of Long Distance Bus Market Liberalisation in Germany



Modelling and Observing the Effects of Long Distance Bus Market Liberalisation in Germany

Authors

Martin Thust, DB FV AG, Christian Kreling, DB FV AG, B Fell, PTV Group

Description

This paper is about the efforts of DB in market research and model building to predict the effect of the long distance bus market liberalisation in advance. Methods, forecast and the real development of the bus market will be shown.

Abstract

Between 1934 and 2012 long distance scheduled bus services in competition to railway were prohibited within Germany (with the exception of Berlin) in order to protect public railroad infrastructure investments. Since January 2013 the long-distance passenger market is open to long distance bus operators and has developed rapidly.

The main focus of this paper is market research and model building by Deutsche Bahn Fernverkehr (DB FV, German Railways long distance passenger transport) to predict the effect of bus market liberalisation to modal choice of long distance travellers. The bus schedules and fares offered are observed, bus occupation and loss of railway travellers is estimated. If the bus market comes to a steady state by summer 2015 we will be able to compare prediction and realty on the conference presentation.

Market research: In 2012 DB commissioned GfK and PTV to undertake a mode preference study on mode choice of travellers. The aim of the study was to obtain a new and valid set of mode choice parameters for implementation in the strategic transportation model operated by DB. A key requirement of the research was to include long distance scheduled bus and to generate parameters for it, although no such bus services were existing at the time the study was carried out. The mode preference study was designed and executed as two-stage survey covering in the first stage journeys undertaken (revealed preferences, RP), followed by a second stage with a stated preference experiment (SP) with up to four modal alternatives. A total of over 7,500 respondents were interviewed in each survey stage.
Starting from this basic conditions it was decided to develop the SP experiments individually for each respondent on the basis of one reported RP journey and hence to embed the SP task in the situational context of the journey. Attributes were – besides travel time and travel costs for every alternative – service frequency, number of transfers, and occupancy level for the public transport options. The sample of travellers was stratified by purpose, the mainly used mode and distance bands.

Model building: PRIMA, the strategic transportation model of DB FV for economic evaluation of timetable scenarios is a highly elaborated four stage model. Since DB FV knows very well rail supply and demand on O-D-level, the mode choice stage is a pivot point model. Until 2012 it covered the modes rail, private car and flight. To integrate the bus in this model, several problems had to be solved. For instance:
• The pivot point structure is not appropriate to a complete new mode
• The variety of operators led to implement an operator transfer impedance
• Frequency / adaption time plays a crucial role in the mode choice modal but its parameters could not be detected certainly from the preference study

Observations: In 2014 the vehicle miles of long distance scheduled busses have been grown 57%. Now there operate more long distance busses than trains (although of course the seat capacity of a train is about 10th as big as of a bus). The core networks of the long distance bus and rail services are quite identical, so that the new bus services are rather a competition than an addition to rail. The competition between the bus operators resulted in very low fares and occupation rates below 50%, so that operating long distance scheduled busses doesn’t seem to be profitable by the begin of 2015. But in January 2015 the two main bus operators offering together 72% of the vehicle km decided to merge.



Short abstract:
Since January 2013 the long-distance passenger market is open to bus operators.
This paper is about the efforts of the German railway company in market research and model building to predict the effect of bus market liberalisation in advance.
Methods, forecast and the real development of the bus market will be shown.

Very short abstract
This paper is about the efforts of the German railway company in market research and model building to predict the effect of the long distance bus market liberalisation in advance. Methods, forecast and the real development of the bus market will be shown.

Publisher

Association for European Transport