Interconnectivity in public transport: orgarfsing the market

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe


The enormous growth of individual car transport in the last decades has led to a groat burden on the environment due to emissions and space use, and disturbance of accessibility to economic important areas due to congestion on road networks. The Dutch national Second Transport Structure Plan (1990) offers a policy fiamework to tackle these problems. In this context, an effective collective passenger transport system is considered to be a powerfia[ instrument for establishing a substantial modal shift in favour of relatively environmental friendly passenger transport. A more substantial use of collective transport can relieve both the road networks and the environment. However, in the past decades in The Netherlands the market share of public transport in passenger transport has decreased steadily. Hence, the performance by public transport is opposite to what is actually desired in the Structure Plan. This awareness has generated many activities to analyse the causes of this development, to explore optional policy strategies to substantially improve the performance of public transport, and to implement chosen policy measures. So far, success has been limited. Major criticisms can be summarised in terms of lack of client-orientation of public transport services. The general feeling is that improvement of public transport in this respect could be a key to reach the desired breakthrough. How to organise public transport to improve client-orientation? Recent literature in The Netherlands (Veeneman, t993; Bovy ot al, 1997) and market developments indicate that the answer to this question should be based on the notion of a high level of interconnectivity in multi-modal transport services for facilitating individual travel chains. In elaborating and implementing this idea, recent major changes in the conditions for public transport have to be taken into account. In The Netherlands, in recent years privatisation has been introduced in local public transport on a small scale and the search is on to have market-principles rule public transport. Consequently, where until recently, national and regional governments knew a tradition of strong control over de public transport sector and strong regulation of the market was used to enforce some degree of interconnectivity, this situation has drastically changed. At present, public transport service providers in The Netherlands are carefuUy moving around in this dynamic arena to look for opportunities to improve their business position. This yields many uncertainties for these companies as well as for public authorities at national, regional and local level on the outcomes of this system dynamics. The Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management asked researchers of the Dutch School of Systems Engineering, Policy Analysis and Management in the second half of 1996 to explore possible public policy strategies with respect to the above described idea of interconnectivity. Special attention was asked to pay to the possible innovative role of information technology. The study was finished end 1996 (Bockstael et al, 1996). Together with results of the Phi) research of the first author, it constitutes the bases for this paper which aims at presenting and evaluating a typology of approaches to improve interconnectivity in multi-modal passenger transport services within a deregulated environment. This rest of this paper is organised as follows. In section 2, the idea of interconneetivity is elaborated to set the aims of the strategy to be followed. In section 3 a typology of strategies is presented, based on studying the situation in four different European countries: Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Section 4 continues with elaborating an approach for the Netherlands. Special attention is paid to the role of information technology and the position of public authorities. The paper ends up in section 5 with some conclusions and discussion.


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