Why do travellers in Europe change transport mode? - POLICY BRIEF

The USEmobility project’s results contribute to better understanding the reasons for changes in the modal choice. The insights gained will help decision makers in politics, as well as in transportation companies, to develop a transport system that motivates more people to opt for public transport and multimodal combinations. At the same time, better understanding the reasons for change provides valuable support for civil society organisations willing to take action in the field of sustainable transport.
The Policy brief a great summary of the results, outcomes, insights of the USEmobility project. You can download it from here:
Printed version/or pdf document with high resolution of this Policy brief  can requsted via e-mail.

Travellers change transport mode: implications for policy and providers

Strategic Recommendations for Involvement of Civil Society Organisations


Depending on the organisation’s focus and size, civil society organisations have different options to take action in this respect. First of all CSOs can sensitise providers of transportation services and public transport authorities for the importance of changes in people’s personal situation for the modal choice as well as for the importance of knowledge transfer. But CSOs can also take action themselves, e.g. by taking part in projects addressing people in situations of change, by offering information and advice regarding eco-friendly multimodal mobility to their own members, by realising projects on knowledge transfer or by running awareness-raising campaigns. Cooperation with and support by partners such as transportation companies or authorities will increase chances of success.


Strategic Recommendations to Providers of Transportation Services


Providers of transportation services aiming at more passengers and a higher market share for public transport and multimodality should provide relevant information proactively. Information should take into account the needs of different target groups (e.g. younger / elderly people (demographic change), disabled users, different travel purposes, etc.). Communication should not only address the relevant facts, but also aspects like image and emotions, as well as the benefits of eco-friendly multimodal mobility for the users and the society as a whole.

Today, a more emotional, lifestyle-oriented approach certainly has potential, especially if one considers that not only among younger people new attitudes and new values can be observed. Public transport has the opportunity to be associated with modern mobility, including the freedom to be online, to work, and to relax, and be accompanied by a good environmental performance. This can be achieved by:
- Directly addressing people, whose life circumstances have changed (welcome packages, info packages);
- Improving information about public transport and multimodality. This includes a comprehensive communication strategy that covers all aspects relevant for the customers (actual information about timetables and delays, consideration of different target groups, using most recent and tailored communication channels, regular marketing activities addressing non-users).


Strategic Recommendations to the European Commission


People rethinking their mobility patterns need clear orientation and a reliable framework. However, people today receive mixed messages from transport policy. Although a higher market share for public transport  is a policy objective in many countries, there are still many measures to support monomodal car use. This leads to considerable uncertainty not only for transport users, but also for the companies providing public and multimodal transport.
Transport policy should give priority to public transport and multimodality, instead of sending mixed messages. A coherent policy framework is the necessary basis for change. Different potentials in urban and in rural areas should be taken into account.

Multimodality is a central issue in this respect.The action needed on the EU level to achieve a supportive policy framework has two dimensions, which should be wellcoordinated:
On the one hand, priority for public transport and eco-friendly multimodality must be reflected in the EU’s own policy choices, for instance in EU funding policies. On the other hand, the EU level should support initiatives on member state level to foster public transport and multimodality. Crucial elements in this context are:
- Clear targets for a higher market share of public transport and supporting member states in developing coherent strategies;
- Priority to public transport and multimodality in EU policies (e.g. infrastructure funding);
- Clear and consistent price signals.

Habits and mobility routines play an important role in people’s daily mobility. In most cases people do not reconsider their mobility routines and modal choices until a far-reaching change in their personal situation gives an impulse (relocation, a new job, birth of children etc.). In all USEmobility countries swing users stated that changes in their personal situation had a major impact on their behavioural change. However, lack of experience with public transport is a considerable barrier for changes in the mobility-mix. In fact knowledge transfer and information about public transport for non-users provided by transport policy and authorities is still underdeveloped.
Transport policy must take user perspectives seriously. Relevant knowledge should be provided proactively. Information should take into account the needs of different target groups (e.g. younger / elderly people (demographic change), disabled users, different travel purposes, etc.). Again, the action needed on EU level has two dimensions, which should be well-coordinated: On the one hand, the EU must consider these aspects in their own policies. On the other hand, the EU level should support the relevant initiatives on member state level.

Crucial elements in this context are:
- Knowledge transfer about public transport and multimodality on various levels and via various channels (education, training, awareness-raising campaigns); Fostering research and innovation in the field of multimodality, including behavioural and non-technical aspects.


Strategic Recommendations to Decision Makers in Politics

In order to achieve a higher market share of public transport and multimodality it is necessary to work on both, attracting new customers for public transport, and keeping current users from turning their backs on public transport.
People considering using regularly public transport and/or multimodal combinations expect services that are a real alternative to monomodal car use. The characteristics of the public transport offer are determined to a large extent by the providers of transportation services. However, transport policy also has a considerable influence on the offered services, since public transport authorities define the volume of services and standards as well as the level of funding. Crucial characteristics of an attractive public transport offers and well developed multimodal links are:
- Satisfying ‘hard factors’:
- Transport policy should improve reachability by public transport (investments in infrastructure improvements and enhanced multimodality (stations / stops, bike and ride, park and ride, etc.);
- Transport policy should work on increasing the capacity of public transport (preparing for future growth);
- Public transport authorities should support and (co-) fund extended times of operation and integrated synchronised timetables;
- Public transport authorities should support competitive travel costs of public transport and common tickets for all public transport services (end-to-end tickets).
- Satisfying ‘soft factors’:
- Public transport authorities should integrate requirements for satisfying ‘soft factors’ (travel comfort, cleanliness, staff etc.) into the public service contracts and monitor these criteria during the contract period.


Result of the national workshops

Evaluated feedback on future scenarios

The aim of the workshops was receiving relevant feedback regarding national framework conditions for stimulating eco-friendly multimodal mobility, representatives from different target groups: decision makers in politics, transport service providers, civil society organisations, research, science and consultancy.

This report reflects the workshop participants’collected feedback on whether / which of the measures that are referred to in the scenarios can realistically be implemented within the suggested timeframe, taking into account specific national framework characteristics, and which resistances would have to be overcome in order for those measures to be successfully implemented. As such, this Evaluated Feedback report will contribute significantly to the elaboration of useful and realistic strategic recommendations towards decision makers, civil society organisations and transport service providers.