“Before and after” studies in a turbulent environment – main findings based on 11 different urban public transport case studies in Norway

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

policy - environment, place - urban


From 1996 to 2000, The Norwegian Ministry of Transport provided financial support to 18 Public Transport packages of measures. In this paper, we present some of the main results from the evaluation of 11 of these packages. The uniform, comprehensive evaluation undertaken has provided an unique source for knowledge on use of and attitudes to public transport and effects of a variation of measures that are useful in future transport planning. The aim of the packages of measures is more effective public transport for passengers and companies, as well as increased patronage. Based on findings from the evaluation we will focus on the characteristics of passenger that have changed travel activity as a result of the packages of measures and economic efficiency and performance. There is a clear correlation between the passengers attitude to the measures undertaken and whether they have increased or decreased their use of public transport. But at the same time, most of the passengers have not changed their use of bus, irrespective of whether they state that the changes are for the better or worse. In fact, 14 percent of the passengers who are not satisfied with the changes travel more than before. We have used multivariate analysis method to look behind the findings in order to find the reasons why the passengers have changed their travel behaviour. One of the main findings is that reduced supply affects the dropout of passengers more than improvements influence passenger increase. This indicates clearly that there is an asymmetry between the effect of improvements and worsening of the public transport supply. Another finding is that improvements of public transport supply reduce the share of compulsory passengers. Access to alternative transport modes does have significance for changes in bus use. Improvement of public transport increases the proportion of passengers who actually chooses public transport. The increase in use of bus is greatest among those who already use public transport frequently. Season ticket holders are overrepresented, which means that the increase of passengers not necessarily will influence the companies income. We have carried out a cost-benefit analysis, which estimates the economic benefit produced by the schemes. In order to conclude whether the measures have been beneficial for society, we have calculated benefit-cost ratios. A benefit-cost ratio above unity indicates that benefits have exceeded the costs. The main conclusions from the economic evaluation indicate that the packages of measures have, in total, been a good investment of public funds. In total, the short-term environmental effects of the schemes, measured in exhaust discharge and noise, were negative. In calculating the marginal external effects, we have looked at effects on the environment and on accidents and congestion costs. The packages of measures have not succeeded in producing more environmentally friendly transport. This is due to the fact that major increases in bus kilometres are not sufficiently outweighed by positive effects of reduced car usage.


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