Investigating the contribution of Demand Responsive Transport to a sustainable local public transport system

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

economics - finance, mode - bus, mode - car, mode - demand responsive transit, place - europe, place - rural, place - urban, planning - surveys, policy - sustainable


Demand Responsive Transport, Public transport, Sustainability


Various studies have advocated the potential for Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) services to deliver sustainable local public transport. This paper investigates the sustainability credentials of DRT services using evidence from UK-based research. More specifically, six potential DRT market niches were identified, including those which offer potential commercial opportunities (e.g. airport surface access) and those that meet social needs (e.g. non-emergency hospital trips). Mode share of these DRT services, against car or bus travel, was simulated from mixed logit models within a panel data modelling framework estimated from survey data. The survey was conducted of over 400 respondents in urban (Rochdale, Manchester) and rural (Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire) areas.

Experience shows that it is particularly difficult to make DRT services financially viable. Of the DRT services investigated, those targeting airline or train passengers offer potential. However, they are in direct competition with the car, and so their success depends on the cost and availability of parking spaces. Some of the DRT schemes explored meet social needs, such as to access shopping facilities or hospitals, but they face cost challenges. In addition, institutional barriers for new DRT schemes need to be overcome in order to develop a sustainable local public transport system.


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


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