Lessons for Successful Regional Coordination Of Public Transport

Our report “Regional Coordination in Public Transportation: Lessons from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland” was just released. Below is a link and the abstract:

This report analyzes history, demand, supply, organizational structure, and policies of regional coordination of public transport in large metropolitan regions in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and the U.S. with a focus on the time period between 1990 and 2012. The goal is to distill lessons for regional coordination of public transport in countries with federal systems of government and high levels of car ownership. The first part of the report focuses on case studies of regional public transport associations (called Verkehrsverbünde or in this report VBs) in Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich, the three largest cities in Germany, as well as Zurich and Vienna, the largest city in Switzerland and Austria respectively. The second part of the report provides an overview of regional coordination of public transport in the San Francisco Bay Area and the Washington National Capital regions. The report finds that between 1990 and 2012, the five VBs successfully attracted more riders and increased revenues—both in total and per capita. VBs involve collaboration among governments, among public transport providers, and between governments and public transport agencies. The original creation of VBs often involved one stakeholder taking the lead in enticing other stakeholders to participate—often at the (monetary) expense of the ‘lead’ stakeholder who absorbed potential financial risk for other collaborators. Moreover, the creation of VBs often occurred during a time of major transport infrastructure investment. In general, VBs are small agencies with between 30 and 150 employees that focus on an easy to use, convenient, and customer oriented public transport system (“One Network, One Timetable, One Ticket”). Typical main tasks of VBs are (1) ticketing, including steeply discounted monthly, annual and tickets for special groups (e.g. students), (2) marketing, branding and consistent messaging, (3) customer information and service, (4) drawing up and overseeing service contracts with public transport agencies, (5) quality control and tracking of quality standards, (6) planning of coordinated public transport services, and (7) coordination and distribution of fare revenue.

Compared to the VBs, regional public transport in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington National Capital region is more fragmented between operators and jurisdictions, offers less transit service with smaller geographic coverage, and has much lower farebox recovery ratios and total per capita demand. Regional transit coordination in the US systems is largely focused around capital investments and long-range transportation planning, with metropolitan planning organizations playing a critical role in facilitating collaboration between public agencies, transit providers, and other stakeholders.

Citation: Buehler, R., Zimmerman, M., and Lukacs, K. 2015. Regional Coordination of Public Transportation: Lessons from Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. Report prepared for the Mid- Atlantic University Transportation Research Consortium (MAUTC), University Park, PA as part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Research and Innovative Technology Administration, Washington, D.C.

 

 

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