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Demand Responsive Transport and Citizen Experiences: Insights from Rural Norway

Authors: Merethe Dotterud Leiren, Kåre H. Skollerud
Report nr: 8553/2016
ISBN (digital version): 978-1-78635-226-2
Language: English

Purpose: An increasing literature focuses on how Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) may contribute to improve public transport. However, qualitative studies about whether such services contribute to social inclusion are lacking. The aim is therefore to understand how citizens experience DRT services. Design/methodology/approach: For this purpose, we compare the different local public transport solutions in three rural municipalities in Norway. One case represents a conventional public transport service with a school bus that is open for all. The two other cases represent DRT solutions with different characteristics in terms of how extensive the services are. The data are qualitative, gathered via interviews and focus groups. Findings: We find that who the users are and their patterns of use differ between the cases. The more extensive the service is, the more popular it is – even to the extent that leisure clubs adapt their start and end times to the public transport routes. Moreover, the evidence suggests that door-to-door transport is crucial for the ability of many people of older age to travel. Practical implications: The need for door-to-door services means that flexibility has to be incorporated into DRT schemes with fixed bus stops, if the aim is to cover all citizens. Originality/value: The insights about how not only the users themselves experience different transport services, but also their relations, provide added value. Finally, we argue that, given among others the dispersion of transport responsibilities on different political levels and sectors, the DRT services have not been successful in solving efficiency issues.


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