Title

THE BENEFITS OF IMPROVING PUBLIC TRANSPORT: A MYTH OR REALITY?.

Authors

BASSEM YOUNES

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1995

Subject Area

operations - traffic, land use - planning, policy - congestion, economics - benefits, mode - mass transit

Keywords

United Kingdom, Transit, Traffic congestion, Public transit, Planning, Mass transit, Local transit, Gridlock (Traffic), Great Britain, Germany

Abstract

As part of a research project completed some four years ago at Imperial College, London, a number of case studies were undertaken to examine the impacts that major improvements to the public transport system have on parallel road traffic. The three studies of major improvements to the public transport systems in three U.K. and German cities were: the Victoria Line in London; the extension of the U-Bahn system in West Berlin (at the time of the study); and the S-Bahn extension in Stuttgart. Each scheme is reviewed, with particular reference to the degree in which they have relieved congestion on the roads in the same corridor. This was examined simply to see whether or not public transport improvements are the only answer to traffic congestion, as is sometimes suggested. In the event, every scheme was a unique example in itself. The different conditions in each situation are presented and the actual impacts of the schemes assessed, based on the available information. The findings were rather different from the expectations. Only marginal relief from road traffic was recorded, with a substantial shift from buses to the improved rapid rail system. In the case of Stuttgart, for example, traffic growth on parallel roads was actually higher than the average growth on all city roads, though for other reasons.