Econometric models for public transport forecasting


David Kennedy

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - rail, place - australasia, economics - appraisal/evaluation, ridership - elasticity, ridership - growth


Auckland, econometric, elasticities, forecasting, Hamilton, New Zealand, panel, patronage, public transport, Tauranga, Wellington


This paper presents the findings from an econometric analysis of public transport patronage growth for a selection of New Zealand cities: Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton and Tauranga. The primary objective of the econometric analysis was to provide an explanation of historic growth patterns and, in doing so, provide up-to-date public transport elasticities for use by transport planners and policy analysts.

The econometric methods employed differ from conventional approaches because we used panel data models to analyse patronage patterns at a disaggregated level (ie bus route, bus corridor or train line) rather than at a network or city level. We consider that this approach produces more accurate estimates and demonstrates that statistical methods can be used to ‘post-evaluate’ the effectiveness of past public transport investments and the impacts of fare increases.

The econometric methodology was developed by DMK Consulting and was designed to ensure that the findings were thoroughly-researched and statistically robust. The development and implementation of this econometric methodology took from 2009 to 2012 to complete.


Permission to link to this article has been given by NZ Transport Agency, copyright remains with them.