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Quantifying the importance of image and perception to bus rapid transit : March 2009.
  • Published Date:
    2009-03-01
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-5.12 MB]


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Quantifying the importance of image and perception to bus rapid transit : March 2009.
Details:
  • Resource Type:
  • Geographical Coverage:
  • NTL Classification:
    NTL-PLANNING AND POLICY-Public Participation and Outreach ; NTL-PLANNING AND POLICY-Transit Planning and Policy ; NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Transit Planning and Policy ; NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Social Impacts ; NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION ; NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Advanced Public Transit Systems ; NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Bus Transportation ; NTL-PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION-Rail Transit ;
  • Abstract:
    This study was designed to quantify the importance of image and perception to Bus Rapid Transit, by identifying the different underlying

    tangible and intangible factors that drive any perceived differences between BRT and other forms of rapid transit. “Tangible”

    service attributes refer to those that are functional and objectively quantifiable, whereas attributes that are abstract, subjective,

    and more difficult to measure and quantify are termed “intangible.” Los Angeles was chosen as the study location because it features

    a wide range of rapid transit modes, including “BRT-Lite” (Metro Rapid), “Full-Service” BRT (Metro Orange Line), Light Rail

    Transit (Gold Line and Blue Line) and Heavy Rail Transit (Red Line). A series of focus groups were conducted in late 2007, followed

    in 2008 with an attitudinal survey of 2,400 transit users and non-users in the Los Angeles area.

    Survey data analysis showed that statistically significant differences existed in the overall ratings achieved by the alternative

    transit modes, which were separated into four different tiers (ordered in terms of lowest to highest overall rating):

    Tier 1: Local bus service; Tier 2: Metro Rapid and Blue Line LRT; Tier 3: Orange Line and the Gold Line; Tier 4: Red Line HRT

    These overall ratings were compared against the level of investment associated with each mode, defined in terms of capital cost

    per mile. Given that the investment level associated with the Metro Rapid is much closer to that of the local bus than to any of the

    other modes, it was concluded that the Metro Rapid performs remarkably well in terms of overall rating achieved per dollar of investment,

    and therefore represents a very cost effective form of BRT. The Orange Line BRT also performed well in terms of overall

    rating achieved per dollar of investment, though not to the dramatic level associated with the Metro Rapid.

    It was found that intangible service attributes have a significant influence on modal perceptions - the Gold Line LRT and

    Orange Line BRT both achieved higher overall ratings than the Blue Line LRT due to higher ratings on key intangible attributes like

    safety while riding, safety while at the station, and other riders that use the service. It was hypothesized that these differences in

    intangible attribute ratings were related to the issue of urban context, and it appears that the urban area through which a rapid transit

    service runs has a larger impact on overall perceptions than whether it is based on bus or rail technology.

    Overall, these findings showed that BRT (even in its lower investment forms) can compete with rail-based transit (at least in

    the perception of the general public) in return for lower capital cost investments. The question of whether these perceptions

    translate into similar levels of ridership attraction is a topic for further research.

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