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Evaluation of the use and non-use benefits of public transport: report number 1 – development of a survey methodology

By A.L. Bristow, P.G. Hopkinson, C.A. Nash and M.R. Wardman


This paper reports on the development of a survey methodology to discover the value people place on the retention of local public transport services, both for their own expected use and as a standby, for the use of others or for the benefits in terms of reduced congestion, improved environment and accessibility they might bring.\ud A survey of the literature suggested that numerous problems of potential bias would be faced. The most serious were likely to be strategic bias, starting point bias, information bias and social-norm bias. Other problems were choice of payment mechanism, how to obtain household rather than individual valuations and non-response bias.\ud Initially a set of exploratory interviews were undertaken. These confirmed that people were able to understand the issues involved, but that they had difficulty particularly with open-ended willingness to pay questions and with assigning values to different types of benefit. They were also sensitive to the payment mechanism, being very hostile to the idea of a subscription scheme.\ud Based on these interviews, attempts were made to design a self completion questionnaire. However, two major problems were encountered. One was the low level of response (20% or less). The second was evidence (confirmed by follow up interviews) of incomplete response, misunderstanding of questions and a failure to think through the full implications of the situations and responses postulated.\ud This led us to develop a new technique, based on hand delivery and collection of a travel diary, which was used as a basis for a follow-up interview. This enabled the interview to be structured towards the unique circumstances of the individual, to explore the options available as alternatives to the existing mode, and to obtain use and non use values in the context of a detailed discussion of the use and importance of local bus services

Publisher: Institute of Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Year: 1991
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