The design, management and operation of flexible transport systems: Comparison of experience between UK, Japan and India

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - operating costs, economics - subsidy, mode - bus, place - asia, place - europe, planning - service level, planning - travel demand management, policy - sustainable, ridership - demand, technology


Flexible transport systems, Design, Management, Operation, ICT, Subsidies, Legislation and policies


Flexible transport systems (FTS) can offer an alternative to fixed route fixed schedule bus services in situations of low and dispersed demand. Although it is widely recognised that these on-demand services provide a better level of service to passengers at a lower operating cost than the infrequent fixed route services which they often replace, they still require significant financial support to cover their costs. As local authority budgets to support public transport continue to be reduced the sustainability of these services is being brought into sharper focus. In this paper we compare and contrast the development of FTS in UK, Japan and India. In particular we examine the extent to which new technologies are being used to contribute to a reduction in operating costs in the UK and Japan and whether these developments point to a future model for sustainable flexible service provision in developing countries, using India as an example.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


Research in Transportation Economics Home Page: