Public Transport and Car Travelling

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Journal of Bangladesh Institute of Planners Vol. 2, December 2009, pp. 71-77, © Bangladesh Institute of Planners

ISSN 2075-9363

Paradox between Public Transport and Private Car as a Modal Choice in Policy Formulation A. H. M. Mehbub Anwar* Abstract
This paper presents the stance towards modal choice behavior between public transport and private car. To find out the probable solutions, this paper investigated the latent attitudes of the trip makers concerning modal choice between private car and public transport and the advantages and disadvantages of these two modes as a choice. It was also discussed in this paper that the public transport usage can be increased if the service of public transport is designed in a way that accommodates the level of services required by the customers. Even though, several factors, such as individual characteristics and lifestyle, the type of journey, length of trip, the apparent service performance etc. of each transport mode play the significant role for the modal choice in the transport sector. It was also focused in this paper that the influence of car usage should be targeted to reduce car usage.

Introduction In the last decades the levels of mobility have increased substantially all over the world. Due to the growing mobility, car use has been increasing and ultimately, it has been a matter of great concern regarding its implications in terms of congestion and pollution. This is the time to consider the current and changing nature of society and lifestyle patterns which generate diversified travel needs in decision-making concerning transport. Most people are now highly dependent on car travel (Anable, 2005:65). There are some other motives beyond the instrumental functions such as feelings of sensation, power, freedom, status and superiority which play important roles for making trips by car (Steg, 2005:147). Moreover, the perceived benefits of cars depend on the lifestyle and social-special relations engaged in by the users (Hiscock et al., 2002:119). Some evidence has suggested that some people drive not only out of necessity but also by choice (Handy et al., 2005:183). However, it is necessary to develop policies that can reduce private transport dependency. Such policies might involve an improvement in the public transport service and promoting a shift to slower modes such as cycling or walking to discourage dependency on cars. Yet the time has not come that the public transport system would be able to provide a quality level of service to attract a large number of car users to switch to public transport (Hensher, 1998:193). Policies which aim at increasing public transport usage should uphold its image, but simultaneously, the public transport system needs to become more competitive and attractive. It requires an improvement in service quality, which can be achieved by a clear understanding of travel behavior and passengers’ needs and expectations. Thus, it becomes necessary to evaluate the level of service (LOS) to identify the probable strengths and weaknesses of public transport systems. This will provide an indication for public transport management so that it can be enhanced to satisfy the passengers and increase the market share as a whole. However, developing appropriate and valid measures of the service quality of a transport system is a complex task, since it deals with human behavior and attitude. Hence, it is important to measure what types of quality of services are expected by the passengers/consumers. If it can be known, then the LOS can be improved accordingly. In essence, public transport and private car are the most important and remarkable transport modes to travel within the city. The private car has some advantages over public bus transport, whereas the public bus also has some advantages. At present, several car manufacturing companies are *

Associate Professor, Urban and Rural Planning Discipline, Khulna University, Khulna. Email:...
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