The Effect of Public Transport Investment on Car Ownership

Is car ownership reduced by the provision of good public transport? This book reports the results of studies in 17 urban areas from five countries. In each town the car ownership is measured in the neighbourhood of rail, metro, tram/light rail and the high quality bus corridors, and then compared with other areas where the public transport is not so good. As far as possible, account is taken of historical differences, population density, household size and socio-economic characteristics, and other transport policies being applied.

On average, in areas close to good public transport, car ownership is reduced by about 38 cars per thousand population, or about 9%, but in Germany it was in some locations up to 42%.

The effect varies according to the area. In some cases better public transport attracts higher-income people to live there, without the high levels of car ownership they would otherwise choose. In other areas public transport releases people with lower incomes from the pressure to buy a car. Underground systems have the strongest effect, then light rail/tram and rail. Bus lane corridors seemed to have less effect but the final judgement has still to be made. The book contains 87 figures and 103 tables and will be available in the next month.

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