Car users’ attitudes towards an enhanced bus system to mitigate urban congestion in a developing country

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bus, mode - car, place - south america, place - urban, planning - surveys, planning - service improvement, policy - congestion, policy - fares, policy - sustainable, ridership - commuting, ridership - mode choice, ridership - demand, ridership - attitudes, planning - route design


Public transport, Traffic congestion, Stated Preference survey, Discrete Choice model, Enhanced bus service


To effectively tackle urban traffic congestion, it is necessary to reduce the quantity of cars with low occupancy rate circulating in cities during peak hours. Car commuters are reluctant to switch to overcrowded buses in which they might also have to do transfers to get to their destination. Instead, they prefer the comfort of their cars. The main objective and contribution of this paper is to study how key attributes affect the likelihood of mode shift between current car users to an enhanced bus service, named by Executive buses, for commuting trips in a city of a developing country. The goal is to enlarge public transport usage to reduce traffic congestion. Data from a stated preference survey in the city of Belo Horizonte (Brazil), simultaneously performed with the latest Brazilian census, provide the necessary tools to expand the Executive bus service demand for the entire city, based on car users. Comfort, direct lines and travel time are key factors for car commuters to switch to this enhanced bus service. Most commuters seem to be willing to walk a reasonable distance (around 500 m) before and after travelling by the enhanced bus. Operationally, this helps shorten bus routes and travel times. The results show a potential reduction of more than 28,000 cars circulating during peak hours across the city of Belo Horizonte, whose commuting trips could be replaced by 54 Executive bus lines. Another key conclusion of the research is how the potential demand for Executive buses is not fully elastic to price. This finding is critical for the public sector; the fare can be used as a pricing mechanism for obtaining a better demand distribution between common and Executive bus lines.


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


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