Meta-Analysis of Public Transport Demand


Johan Holmgren

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - vehicle, planning - service quality, ridership - elasticity, ridership - demand, mode - bus, mode - mass transit


Vehicle kilometers of travel, Transit, Service quality, Regression analysis, Regression, Quality of service, Public transit, Prices, Passenger service quality, Motor bus transportation, Meta-analysis, Mass transit, Local transit, Level of service, Intracity bus transportation, Intercity bus transportation, Income, Fuel prices, Exogenous variables, Estimates, Endogenous variables, Elasticity (Economics), Demand, Bus transportation, Bus transit, Automobile ownership


The present study uses meta-regression in order to explain the wide variation in elasticity estimates obtained in previous demand studies and provide summaries of several bus demand elasticities. One important finding as to the price elasticity is that the often cited rule of thumb of −0.3 holds good if quality of service represented by vehicle-kilometres is treated as an exogenous variable, but not when it is treated as endogenous. Based on the results it is recommended that demand models should include car ownership, price of petrol, own price, income and some measure of service among the explanatory variables and that the service variable should be treated as endogenous. In previous meta-studies in this field focus has been on own price elasticity only while this study also includes elasticities with respect to level of service, income, price of petrol and car ownership. The short run for the US are found to be −0.59, 1.05, −0.62, 0.4 and −1.48 respectively.


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