This session highlights posters and short presentations on Public Transportation Fare Policy and Marketing. Recent research on transit fare policy includes the effects of transit passes on school attendance, transit fare elasticities calculated from smartcard data, and a review of reduced fare programs for low income transit riders in the USA. This session also includes numerous presentations on Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), including an analysis of Uber fares in a European city, empirical usage results from a MaaS trial in Europe, and motivators to switch from a yearly transit ticket to MaaS.
Transport Fare Elasticities from Smartcard Data: A Natural Experiment in Stockholm
Yaroslav Kholodov, Technische Universiteit DelftShow Abstract
Erik Jenelius (firstname.lastname@example.org), KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Oded Cats, Delft University of Technology
Niels van Oort, Technische Universiteit Delft
Niek Mouter, Technische Universiteit Delft
Matej Cebecauer, KTH Royal Institute of Technology
Alex Vermeulen, Technische Universiteit Delft
This paper develops a method for analysing the elasticity of travel demand to public transport fares. The methodology utilizes public transport smartcard data for collecting disaggregate, full population data about passengers’ travel behaviour. The study extends previous work by deriving specific fare elasticities for distinct socioeconomic (e.g., car ownership and income) groups and public transport modes (metro, trains and buses), and by considering the directionality of the fare change. The case study involves a public transport fare policy introduced by the regional administration of Stockholm County in January 2017, where the zonal fare system was replaced by a flat-fare policy. The overall fare elasticity of travel funds is found to be -0.46. User sensitivity grows along with the journey distance. Metro users demonstrate the lowest sensitivity, followed by bus and commuter train riders. Low socioeconomic groups are sensitive to a price increase and do not adjust their behaviour with a price decrease, whereas the high-factor groups’ sensitivity is the opposite. In addition to the direct effect of changed fares, simplification and unification of the fare scheme appears to have substantially contributed to its attractiveness. The flat fare may allow the geographic disparity of public transport travel to be reduced and new users to be attracted from remote areas who are more prone to own cars.
A Comparison of Reduced Fare Programs for Low Income Transit Riders
Wesley Darling, University of California, BerkeleyShow Abstract
Emily Carpenter, Tennessee Department of Transportation
Tami Johnson-Praino, Tennessee Department of Transportation
Candace Brakewood, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Carole Voulgaris, Harvard University
One strategy for addressing transit rider fare equity is with means-based reduced fare programs, though this is not universally implemented across all transit agencies in the United States. The objective of this study is to synthesize the current state of reduced fare programs for low income transit riders. The reduced fare programs of the 50 largest transit agencies in the United States were examined and agencies with programs specifically for low income riders were compared based on three dimensions: eligibility and enrollment, fare media and discount pricing, and estimated transit expenditure for eligible riders. The results reveal that sixteen of the 50 largest transit agencies have low income reduced fare programs. Of these, thirteen agencies administer the programs themselves, while three use partnerships with social service organizations to administer them. Additionally, nine of the thirteen agencies that administer their own programs provide a 50% discount on fares and require participants to have an income at or below 125% to 200% of the Federal Poverty Level for eligibility. Program participants at the income eligibility threshold typically spend an estimated two to six percent of their annual income on transit, although very low income people may need to spend much higher shares of their incomes on transit fares. These results indicate that agencies may need to reevaluate the structure of their existing low income reduced fare programs and implement tiers of discounts to ensure that fare equity is being extended to all riders.
The Effect of Transit Passes Within School Walk Zones on School Attendance
Noah Wexler, University of MinnesotaShow Abstract
Yingling Fan, University of Minnesota
Galen Ryan, University of Minnesota
Kirti Das, Princeton University
In multiple U.S. cities, school districts and transit providers have begun to collaborate and implement programs to provide students access to public transit to either replace or supplement yellow school buses. Although these programs have been widely acknowledged as a promising and innovative solution by practitioners, there is no empirical research evidence to date confirming the benefits of these programs to individual students. This paper responds to this research gap by exploiting the introduction of Minneapolis’ Go-To Student Pass program – a transportation program that began to provide student access to public transit in August 2013 – on students’ school attendance rates. Both traditional Difference-in-differences (DD) models and Two-Way Fixed Effects (TWFE) models are specified to compare all students living within a 2-mile radius of their school, of which only Free-and-Reduced Lunch (FRL) eligible students received Go-To-Passes. Poisson regressions estimate that pass provision reduces excused absences by about 36%, yet negligibly affects unexcused absences. While the traditional DD approach yields insignificant results on total absences, the TWFE specification finds that student passes reduced total absences by 18%. All statistically significant findings are reported at a 95% confidence level.
Equity and Exclusion Issues in Automated and Cashless Fare Payment Systems for Public Transportation
Aaron Golub (email@example.com), Portland State UniversityShow Abstract
Anne Brown, University of Oregon
Candace Brakewood, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
John MacArthur, Portland State University
Many transit agencies plan to automate their fare collection and limit the use of cash, with the goals of improving boarding, data collection and lowering operating costs. Still, about 10% of adults in the United States lack a bank or credit card account and many rely on restrictive cell-phone data plans or don’t have access to internet or a smartphone. As fare technologies automate, these riders will find it difficult to ride. This project explores the practices used to address equity issues in cashless fare payment systems, and how effective are they both from a rider, and agency perspective? The project engages with transit users about their experiences with emerging technologies, in both small group conversations and through a larger sample survey. That data analysis reveals which transit users are most at risk of being excluded, and how mitigation strategies could work to overcome those barriers. This project will also develop a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of these equity solutions. This presentation focuses on results from the focus group discussions and large sample survey making up the first phase of the project. We find that older and lower-income riders are more at risk of exclusion as they often lack access to smartphones or internet. A significant number of riders across all groups rely on Wi-Fi and less dependable sources for internet, which may inhibit some from adopting smartphone and internet-based payment systems.
Examining Circuity of Urban Transit Networks from an Equity Perspective
Malvika Dixit (M.Dixitfirstname.lastname@example.org), Technische Universiteit DelftShow Abstract
Subeh Chowdhury, University of Auckland
Oded Cats, Delft University of Technology
Ties Brands, Technische Universiteit Delft
Niels van Oort, Technische Universiteit Delft
Serge Hoogendoorn, Technische Universiteit Delft
Circuity of public transport networks, defined as the ratio of network to Euclidean distance travelled, has been known to influence travel behavior. In addition to the longer time spent in travel, for networks where fare is based on distance traveled, higher circuity means higher fare for the same Euclidean distance. This makes circuity relevant from an equity perspective. Using a case study of the urban public transport network of Amsterdam, this study explores the role of public transport circuity on the disparity in distance travelled by riders’ income profile, and its implications on travel times and costs for networks with distance based fares. The analysis is based on travel patterns from smart card data for bus, tram and metro modes, combined with zonal income data. Results reveal that in Amsterdam, lower income groups have more circuitous journeys for the Euclidean distance covered. The uneven distribution of circuity exacerbates the disparity in distance travelled, and hence fare paid between the three income groups (high, medium, low). However, the travel time per Euclidean distance favors the low income group, possibly due to the circuitous routes serving these areas being compensated by higher travel speeds. This study highlights the role of public transport network design in determining its equity outcomes, and emphasized the importance of considering equity during route and fare planning. The process followed can be adapted to examine equity for urban networks of other cities.
An Empirical Analysis of Uber Fares: Evidence from Madrid
Thais Rangel (email@example.com), Universidad Politécnica de MadridShow Abstract
Juan Nicolás Gonzalez, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Juan Gomez, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Fernando Romero, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
Jose Manuel Vassallo, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Ride-hailing is an emerging service that is transforming door to door mobility in urban areas. Users can easily request a ride through a smartphone app that informs them of the pickup time, the location of the vehicle, and the fare that they will pay in advance. Even though it is well know that Uber implements a dynamic pricing approach depending mostly on supply, demand and competition with other services, there is still little empirical evidence on the main drivers explaining the fare strategy of the company. Using 10-month data from the Uber’s Application Programming Interface (API) in the city of Madrid, this research studies the evolution and trends experienced by Uber fares in terms of several explanatory variables. It also explores the main differences between Uber and taxi fares. The results indicate that trip distance, day of the week, origin and destination of the trip, and rain precipitation have a statistically significant impact on Uber fares. The findings also show that on average, Uber fares are lower than taxi fares, with the exception of particular hours of the day. The analysis also demonstrates that Uber fares slightly decreased during taxi strikes.
Switch or Stay? Push-Pull Motivators for Switching from Yearly Transit Ticket to Mobility-as-a-Service (MAAS)
Rumana Sarker, Universitat InnsbruckShow Abstract
Sigal Kaplan, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Jinhee Kim (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yonsei University
Markus Mailer, Universitat Innsbruck
Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) as key towards promoting sustainable travel depends on collaboration and competition with public transport. This study focuses on the willingness of transit users to switch from their transit card to a MaaS subscription. The behavioral motivation model combines the bundle switching behavior model with normative, gain and hedonic goal framing. A stated-preference experiment elicited the choice between a yearly transit card with unlimited travel and two MaaS options on the basis of package price, transit trips, e-car and e-bike price and benefits in the form of free e-bike and e-car minutes. A hybrid discrete choice model was estimated on a sample of 5,664 choices from 1,416 transit users in Innsbruck, Austria with the aid of the city and regional transit operators. The latent variables are service-based push-pull factors, switching costs, and individual environmental attitudes, time saving skills and taste for innovation. Socio-economic and trip characteristics served as control variables. The results show that the choice between transit and MaaS is non-trivial: i) the product attributes motivating switching to MaaS are free transit rides, e-car minutes and e-bike minutes, ii) a greater price difference between transit and MaaS motivates staying with the current transit card, iii) the latent factors motivating staying with the current transit card are transit service satisfaction, switching effort, and environmental attitudes iv) the latent factors motivating switching to MaaS are its perceived advantages, under-utilization of the current transit card, and taste for innovation.
Multimodal Transportation Plans: Empirical Evidence on Uptake, Usage and Behavioral Implications from the Augsburg MaaS Trial
Daniel Reck (email@example.com), ETH ZurichShow Abstract
Kay Axhausen, Eidgenossische Technische Hochschule Zurich
David Hensher, University of Sydney
Chinh Ho, University of Sydney
The integration of shared mobility modes with public transportation to provide ‘mobility as a service’ (MaaS) in a sustainable way has received substantial attention from transportation scholars, practitioners and policymakers. In fully integrated systems, customers are offered a choice between ‘pay-as-you-go’ and monthly subscription plans. While there has been considerable research into the configuration, willingness to pay and resulting market potential of such plans using stated preference methods, only few trials have been conducted to validate previous results and evaluate their potential to foster sustainable travel behavior. To this end, we report on the first MaaS trial in Germany. Between November 2018 and June 2020, 341 customers bought bundles including monthly public transportation, carsharing and bikesharing allowances. While uptake has been substantial, first indications of market saturation suggest that the (currently offered) MaaS bundles including these modes might be more of a niche product than a ‘game changer’ in urban mobility. Analyzing longitudinal panel data on bundle uptake and carsharing usage, we find that a substantial number of customers underutilize their carsharing allowances. Still, consumer gain is substantially higher than producer gain due to bundle discounts, dampening providers’ hopes of a new business model. We further find that carsharing allowances in bundles increase carsharing usage of subscribers. This effect suggests that reductions in private car use in the context of MaaS trials cannot be interpreted as sustainability increases per se, but interdependencies with other modes have to be accounted for.
Who’s on Board? Examining the Changing Characteristics of Transit Riders Using Latent Profile Analysis
andrew schouten, Ritsumeikan UniversityShow Abstract
Brian Taylor, University of California, Los Angeles
Evelyn Blumenberg, University of California, Los Angeles
Subsidies of public transit have more than doubled since the late 1980s, with a disproportionate share of funds going to rail service. These investments may have important implications, affecting both the composition of transit users and their travel behavior. To investigate this possibility, we use Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) and data from the 2009 and 2017 National Household Travel Surveys to examine changes in the characteristics of transit users in the US and in six major metropolitan areas. Nationwide, we find that the proportion of Transit Dependents grew by 17 percent to account for two-thirds of all transit users in 2017. These least advantaged riders were more likely over time to reside in very poor households and to be carless. There was a corresponding decline in Occasional Transit Users, for whom transit is part of a multi-modal travel profile. Higher-income, car-owning Choice Transit Riders increased slightly over time but accounted for less than 1 in 10 transit riders. Their growth was concentrated in a few large metropolitan areas. While increased spending on rail transit has shifted riders away from buses, the role of public transit as a redistributive social service that provides mobility to disadvantaged travelers has grown over time. Efforts to draw more multi-modal and car-owning travelers onto transit have been less successful. As transit systems struggle to recover riders coming out of the pandemic, transit’s waxing role of providing mobility for those without will likely grow even more prominent.
Willingness to Pay for Proposed High Speed Railway in India: Are Conventional Train Travellers Ready to Pay Higher for Saved Travel Times and How Much?
Omkar Karmarkar, Indian Institute of Technology, BombayShow Abstract
Arnab Jana, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
Nagendra Velaga, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
High Speed Rail is said to be a revolutionary mode of transport as it brings down the inter-city journey times drastically. However, affordability of this time reduction is still questionable, which makes the calculations of willingness to pay (WTP) for HSR essential. This study analyzes WTP of conventional train travelers for reduced travel time due to proposed HSR. A questionnaire based survey of train travelers was conducted in Mumbai, India. The questionnaire mainly covered the details of their current travel, socio-economic status and WTP related questions. A modified open-ended contingent valuation method was used for data collection and modeling was done using binary logistic regression. Differential utility weighted mean WTP was calculated for multiple socio-economic cohorts. It was found that travelers are willing to pay average INR 300 (1 USD is about 75 INR) over their current travel cost for an hour of travel time saving and INR 3.25 to 5.25/km is the ideal fare range travelers are willing to pay. Analysis showed that WTP decreases with the existence of co-passenger, with the comfort of sleeper coaches while it increases with the increasing income. WTP is higher for middle age group, medium frequent travelers and for those on business trips. This study found the need for group ticket discount of 10% and average 25% subsidy on monthly passes in order to make HSR more attractive for larger group of travelers. This research would be useful for various policy level decisions and for ridership forecast for different fare levels.
DISCLAIMER: All information shared in the TRB Annual Meeting Online Program is subject to change without notice. Changes, if necessary, will be updated in the Online Program and this page is the final authority on schedule information.