INTERMODE research project

An exploratory assessment of demand responsive transport services.

Project details

Full project title: An exploratory assessment of demand responsive transport services/innovations in demand responsive transport services

Sponsors: Department for Transport; and Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive

Project Coordinator: Dr Marcus Enoch, Loughborough University

UWE Bristol investigator: Professor Graham Parkhurst

Collaborators at other institutions: Dr Stephen Potter, Open University (bid-leader)

Start date: November 2002

Finish date: June 2003

Project summary

In recent years, a number of UK examples of demand responsive services have emerged under the existing PSV/Taxi/PHV licensing system. The introduction of the Rural Bus Subsidy Grant and the Rural Bus Challenge has played a large part in the rising number of these services. Furthermore, as Travel Plans have come to be adopted by companies, there have developed liftsharing and vanpool commuting schemes. The latter are commonplace in the USA and parts of mainland Europe.

Outside the UK, demand responsive services have established other niche markets, for example in the USA demand responsive commercial airport shuttles are commonplace. In Turkey the semi-scheduled Dolmus is a standard form of local public transport. There is thus a great deal of variation and complexity in the sort of demand responsive services offered and possible providers.

Key objective

The key objective of the study is to identify a shortlist of kinds of flexible, or demand responsive, services that could be operated using taxis, PHVs (or minicabs) or other small vehicles in the UK in general, and in Manchester in particular.

The approach to analysing the feasibility of the variants for the UK context seeks to prioritise functional characterisation over technical characteristics, as there may be many ways of specifying the same function in different markets and societies. Hence, the approach is led by Market Segment Analysis and consideration of Networks and Processes, whilst Service Design and Operations factors, although important, take a secondary role.

Key outputs

Key outputs will include conclusions concerning:

  • The size of potential demand (including location, type of people served, type of trips accommodated)
  • The welfare benefits produced, including reduction of social exclusion, and mode shift reducing environmental impacts and congestion reduction)
  • The potential for commercial operations
  • The near-future viability of the communications systems needed;
  • Integration with other public transport modes
  • The presence of any regulatory and legislative barriers (particularly local taxi regulations).