John Pucher

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, planning - environmental impact, land use - impacts, policy - environment, policy - congestion, place - urban, mode - mass transit


Urban transportation policy, Urban transportation, Urban transit, Transit, Traffic congestion, Subsidies, Social factors, Public transit, Public policy, Mode share, Modal split, Modal shift, Mass transit, Local transit, Intracity transportation, Gridlock (Traffic), Environmental impacts, Environmental effects, Economic and social factors, Czechoslovakia, Automobile ownership


As in most formerly socialist countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Czech Republic has been experiencing a transport revolution since the shift from socialism to capitalism in the late 1980s. From 1988-1998, per-capita car ownership rose by 63% in the country overall, and by 93% in the capital city of Prague. Vehicle km of motor vehicle use have more than doubled. Conversely, public transit usage has fallen considerably; by 26% in the country as a whole and by 19% in Prague. This modal shift has resulted from increased incomes; access to Western markets; declining real prices of cars and fuel; removal of restrictions on manufacturing and importing cars; and the car's attraction as a symbol of freedom, affluence, and status. The sharp reduction of subsidies for public transport has forced increases in fares and service cutbacks, which have also encouraged the shift toward private cars. The sudden surge in car ownership and use has caused significant social and environmental problems: roadway congestion, parking shortages, increased traffic accidents, air pollution, and noise. Given their severe financial limitations, Czech cities are struggling to preserve their public transport systems while accommodating the increase in private car ownership. This paper examines this shift in the Czech transport system, focusing on urban passenger transport supply and demand and shifts in travel behavior, and offers potential alternatives and solutions to the problems this shift has caused.


Transport Policy Home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/0967070X