“This is where public transport falls down”: Place based perspectives of multimodal travel


Rich C. McIlroy

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - reliability, operations - coordination, infrastructure - station, infrastructure - stop, place - rural, place - urban, ridership - perceptions


Asynchronous Online Focus Groups (AOFG), Multimodal travel, Urban, Peri-urban, Rural, Car dependency


No single transport mode can replace the private car in terms of its support for flexible mobility. Combinations of multiple transport modes are required. If we are to contribute to reduced car dependency it is crucial that we understand what makes such multi-modal journeys difficult. Despite large bodies of literature on mode choice and on perceptions and experiences of various travel modes, few scholars have looked specifically at journeys that combine more than one transport mode. This research fills that gap, taking a qualitative approach to explore end-user perspectives of the challenges therein. Specifically, it focusses on the barriers people in urban, peri-urban, and rural areas perceive when thinking about combining two or more transport modes in a single journey. Thematic analysis of the responses of 146 participants of a series of asynchronous online focus groups revealed an overall picture of challenges shared, with some differences in the relative importance of different barriers for those in different locations. The time incurred, the difficulties in synchronising timetables, and the criticality of each leg’s reliability are core barriers for all, while those in rural areas are more affected by basic service provision and the physical linking of different modes. Of greater significance for urban and peri-urban residents were the complexities around planning a multi-modal journey where there are multiple options available, as well as the facilities available at stations and stops. Results are discussed in terms of interventions that could help people in different residential settings use their car less.


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


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