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Demand Responsive Transport: Towards the Emergence of a New Market Segment

Lookup NU author(s): Margaret Eade, Professor John Nelson, Dr Steven Wright


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This paper explores the reasons for the recent explosion of interest in Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) services. DRT is an intermediate form of transport, somewhere between bus and taxi and covers a wide range of transport services ranging from less formal community transport through to area-wide service networks. In recent years, the ability of DRT concepts to provide efficient, viable transport services has been greatly enhanced by the use of transport telematics and its successful demonstration in a variety of environments across Europe. Research findings suggesting a link between flexible public transport services and reduced social exclusion and the widespread successes of British local authorities in winning substantial funding under the Rural and Urban Bus Challenge programmes for the implementation of DRT have resulted in widespread interest in flexible forms of transport. Drawing on the experience of a number of recently established schemes this paper assesses the reasons for the new-found success of this relatively well-established mode by concentrating on a variety of factors including: service characteristics (particularly route flexibility, flexibility of booking method and pre-booking regime), emerging markets and the overall contribution of DRT to increased social inclusion and intermodality. The paper also discusses current research into the next generation of DRT services. Experience gained from a variety of international applications shows wide potential for improved operation of DRT concepts and models in order to cover the overall spectrum of the intermediate and flexible services. This may be achieved by integrating the technological tools developed with emerging e-commerce and e-business services. The thesis is advanced that, starting from the application of a single DRT service, there is a considerable opportunity to evolve towards the concept of the “Agency for Flexible Mobility Services” through a scaling up of the current technologies and DRT models.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mageean JF, Nelson JD, Wright SD

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Unknown

Conference Name: RGS-IBG Conference

Year of Conference: 2003