Will bus travellers walk further for a more frequent service? An international study using a stated preference approach

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - australasia, place - europe, place - north america, mode - bus, mode - car, mode - pedestrian, operations - frequency, operations - service span, operations - crowding, planning - network design, planning - service improvement


Network planning principles, Frequency versus access of public transport service, Stated choice experiment, International comparison, Patronage generation


Network planning of bus services requires addressing the trade-off between frequency and coverage. Traditional network planning has focused on coverage using the rule of thumb that people will walk four hundred meters to access bus based public transport services. More modern approaches have recognised that encouraging mode shift means improving quality and thus in the presence of budget constraint, a shift of resources is needed to provide better frequency or smaller headways on core corridors. Using a Stated Choice experiment approach, this paper elicits the trade-off between access distance and headways and how this might vary in a number of cities around the world. The key results confirm travellers in all cities forming part of the sample are willing to walk further for a more frequent service: in Australian capital cities between 226 m and 302 m further for a 10-min reduction in bus headways, while in UK and US this is between 370 m and 475 m further for the same improvement in bus headway. The research provides a consistent valuation for the design attributes of service (such as distance to stop, journey time, headway/frequency and crowding) over eleven cities together with an estimation of the role of socio demographics in tempering how far passengers are likely to walk to access a high frequency corridor and potentially achieve mode shift from the private car.


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


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