Successful public transport in urban regions: a European study on policy and practice


C van der Maas

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - europe, place - urban


Public transport in the Netherlands is, as in many other European countries, due to be chan~ng enon-nously in the near future. Policy makers are aiming high: introduction of competition, decentralisation and large investments in infrastructure. The implementation of public transport measures should lead into better quality and more public transport usage. Local governments also want to achieve objectives like decrease of car usage and increase of cost recovery ratios. However, in practice, goals are not always achieved. Some European cities or urban regions already managed to do so. Therefore the question has arisen why public transport in these cities or urban regions is successful. The Transport Research Centre (AVV) of the Ministry of Transport in the Netherlands has undertaken a number of foreign studies into examples of successful applications of public transport in several European urban regions. Research studies focused on the following main questions: Which European urban regions have successful public transport and what is their achievement? Which factors attributed to the success? AVV has studied the policies concerning public transport and the practice of these policies and measures. Several European cities have been visited and persons involved in the public transport planning (local/regional governments and public transport companies) have been interviewed. Study of literature on several examples has also been undertaken. The definition of 'successful public transport' depends on the goals that have been set when implernenting measures. Transport policies in the Netherlands are aimed at two main goals, narnely improved accessibility (to and from inner cities or important economic destinations) and environment (amenity, quality of life, traNc safety). Public transport operation should also reach higher levels of cost recovery ratio. These goals should be reached through less car usage and more use of modes that are better for the environment (public transport, cycling, walking). This can be done by trying to substitute car use by other modes, in this case: public transport. Several indicators of success can be constructed: * the (development in the) number of passengers; * the (deveIopment in the) cost recovery ratio; * the modal split and modal shift. The different cases studied have been successful in one or more of these elements.


Permission to publish abstract given by AET.