Conditions for Success in Public Transport Innovations
Fons Savelberg, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis, Saeda Moorman, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis, Peter Bakker, KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis
We investigated how innovations in public transport develop worldwide and what these innovations mean for passengers, operators and service providers and for external factors like environment, safety and investment costs.
A number of trends occur with an impact on travel behaviour. Many cities become more and more popular for both inhabitants and visitors and attract people with a large variety of backgrounds and life styles. Technological innovations like new vehicles with an increasing level of automation are adopted rapidly. Large volumes of transport-relevant data are being generated, which enables new types of mobility services. Some people strongly believe in collaborative consumption with an increase of shared car ownership and car use.
Both public transport authorities and operating companies are aware of the need for innovations in order to cope with a rapidly evolving environment. On behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment KiM Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis investigated how innovations in public transport develop worldwide and what these innovations mean for the public transport market.
A general conclusion of our research is that not all innovations successfully secure a large-scale place in the market over the longer term. We show that innovation is often a process involving serious obstacles.
Furthermore, we deal in our paper with the following five topics:
Classification of innovations: innovations in public transportation often pertain to minor improvements in quality and seldom to large-scale leaps for the public transport system. Globally, the majority of innovations in public transportation involve vehicle technology, payment and information systems, and various types of demand-responsive transportation.
Impact of innovations for passengers: after analyzing the impacts of innovations on travel behaviour, the most appealing innovations seem to be those that substantially improve door-to-door travel times (both the actual ‘clock time’ and the perceived travel time). From this perspective, we present a ranking of innovations.
Impact of innovations for operating companies and service providers: regarding commercial feasibility it is often unknown whether an innovation will provide a positive business case for the operator over the longer term. For example, demand-responsive systems offering door-to-door transport, over time generate more costs and less revenues than expected in the beginning.
Impact of innovations on external factors: some innovations have an impact on external factors like safety and environment and on infrastructure costs. Innovations that require new infrastructure commonly result in extra land use and/or the need for major government investments.
Lessons for public transport authorities : we investigated policy options for stimulating innovation in public transport. Examples are found in the development and sharing of knowledge, fiscal regulations and open data. We also looked at the relationship between innovative capacity and the market organisation of public transport.
Association for European Transport