Identifying commuter preferences for existing modes and a proposed metro

In 2009, the New South Wales government announced that it would be proceeding with a feasibility study to identify the patronage potential of a new Metro rail system for Sydney. As part of this study, a new modal choice study was undertaken to establish the role of traditional attributes such as travel times and costs (and more recently, reliability) but also somewhat neglected influences such as crowding, where the later has a critical role in the calculation of capacity needs at railway stations. This paper focuses on the commuter segment and develops a new stated choice experiment in which travellers are able to compare the proposed new Metro with existing available modal alternatives for access, linehaul and egress trip stages, with a particular emphasis on the incorporation of crowding represented by the availability of a seat vs. standing in existing and new public transport modes. We present the error component choice model together with estimates of mode-specific willingness to pay for travel time components, service frequency and crowding, that latter expressed in terms of the probability of getting a seat and the probability of avoiding standing.

Crowding and public transport: A review of willingness to pay evidence and its relevance in project appraisal

This paper reviews public transport crowding valuation research, using a number of primary studies conducted in the UK, USA, Australia and Israel. We identify three measures used to value crowding (a time multiplier, a monetary value per time unit and a monetary value per trip), and associated ways of representing crowding in stated preference experiments. Although a number of different types of crowding in terms of location are identified, namely in-vehicle, access-way, entrance and platform/station, the majority of reviewed studies investigate only in-vehicle crowding. Despite the different characteristics of the reviewed studies, they all report that crowding would increase the value of travel time savings, which can be viewed as an additional component of generalised time. This paper also comments on the role that the WTP for crowding reduction can play in project appraisal, and suggests some important avenues for future public transport crowding valuation research.

Restating modal investment priority with an improved model for public transport analysis

We compare analytically and numerically the optimised performance of different urban public transport modes for three objectives: total cost minimisation, profit maximisation, and welfare maximisation. We find that under optimal operation, buses provide lower waiting time and operator costs, therefore the only possible advantage for rail is providing a lower in-vehicle time cost if trains are faster. Using Australian data, we found that bus rapid transit provides a lower total cost, higher profit and welfare, up to their capacity. Introducing passengers dislike of crowding and train-specific attraction elements might make Heavy Rail the most cost effective mode for high levels of demand.