In London, 17.5 billion vehicle miles of traffic were travelled by cars and taxis in 2019. (DfT, 2021). Hydrocarbon fuelled automobiles result in many negative impacts, such as air pollution including the CO2 emissions and road congestion. Air pollution has an adverse effects on human health, CO2 emissions accelerate global warming and road congestion leads to roads being less welcoming for the pedestrians and cyclists as well as negatively impacts efficiency of public transport and freight.
London is considered to have well developed public transport system and although number of trips made by foot, cycle and public transport have risen from 52% in 2000 to 63% in 2019 (TfL, 2021), major improvements are necessary to meet the Mayor of London goal of “80 per cent all trips in London to be made on foot, cycle or using public transport by 2041” (Greater London Authority, 2018).
This study assesses the public transport accessibility across the City of London by analysing the content from the WebCAT planning tool and travel time mapping. London travel demand survey data was used to analyse public transport utilisation, car use and car ownership across the city. Accessibility, public transport use, car use and ownership were then assessed for any interconnection.
Research question and objectives
The research question is as follows: Private car or public transport? - what effects does the service accessibility have on public transport utilisation in the City of London
The objectives are as follows:
Establish what effects service accessibility has on public transport utilisation in the City of London by:
- Determining public transport accessibility, public transport utilisation, car use and ownership across the City of London
- Determining interconnection between public transport accessibility, public transport utilisation, car use and ownership across the City of London
Many factors are found to have an effect on commuters travel behaviours and their satisfaction. Travel satisfaction is a complex phenomenon and high overall satisfaction appear to depend upon multiple characteristics such as reliability, comfort, safety or information (Sukhov et al., 2021). Studies show, good public transport accessibility have impact not only on peoples’ ability to connect and access many areas but also have a positive impact on their personal relationships. (Mouratidis, 2019)
Study of Melbourne have found the rail disruptions have negative impact on passengers satisfaction with regards to public transport (Currie and Muir, 2017). In terms of these disruptions, the “waiting tolerance” of affected public transport users was found to be critical piece of information that could be used by transport authorities to design and integrate more effective recovery strategies in case of such service disruptions (Lin, 2017). (Rahimi, et al., 2019) found the travel disruptions can have a severe negative impact on public transport users’ experience. As per the the survey in the Chicago region, approximately 33 percent of public transport users reported that they would wait more than 20 min for the system to be restored, however his figure drops down to about 8 percent of users that would wait more than 45 min.
Although disruptions appear to be one of elements, many studies have found accessibility being the key factor in impacting people choices with regards to how they travel. Study built on travel survey in Oslo, Norway found that walking distance to a public transport station, transfers and waiting time have negative impact on commuters’ satisfaction (Lunke, 2020). Another study in Oslo found that large proportion of working people that commute to the city centre is situated along the main railway and metro lines. Oslo city centre is highly attractive due to its recent developments to its public transport hub in comparison to other city areas such as Fornebu, west of Oslo city centre where high levels of car use are associated with limited public transport system (Gundersen et al., 2016). Further research into subject found the residents in the less urban and dense areas would have reduced public transport use and increased private care use. People in these areas were more likely to choose private car over the public transport use because the stations were found to be far (Hook et al., 2021). (Azimi, et al., 2020) found the longer the access length (distance from the origin to the transit station), the users were more likely to choose micro mobility, TNC or taxi, carpool, or drove alone modes.