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Passengers’ valuation of measures for universal design of public transport

The benefits arising from measures to improve accessibility of passengers with special needs are not limited to such passenger groups. Low-floor buses which allow for wheelchair access, for example, enable faster and easier boarding and alighting for all passengers.

A number of other measures that are primarily designed for passengers with special needs provide benefits and ease of use for all passengers in a similar fashion.

Although few efforts have been made to quantify such benefits, it is obvious that they are important components of any cost benefit analysis (CBA). By enabling the inclusions of such measures into a CBA framework, it is possible to prioritise, rank and compare them with other investments in the transport sector.

We have conducted a study with two main foci. Firstly, we document the impact of public transport measures for universal design on all passengers as well as on passengers with special needs. Included here are the appreciation of such measures, and their effects on patronage. The evidence is based on focus groups and on-board interviews with passengers in three different Norwegian cities where public transport services have been upgraded considerably towards accessibility for all (universal design). We document that measures for universal design are broadly regarded as quality enhancements, and contribute to patronage growth.

Secondly, we quantify and monetise passenger benefits accruing from such measures. These valuations are representative for all passengers, and not only those with special needs. As such, the valuations are readily applicable for cost-benefit analysis. A full scale stated preference survey among passengers in the same three cities has been undertaken.

Passengers’ valuation of measures for universal design of public transport. TØI report 1039/2009.
Author(s): Nils Fearnley et al. Norwegian language with English summary.




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