Purpose: In order for public transport to be a part of the solution to the environmental problems caused by traffic, there need to be a clear understanding of how, and to whatextent, different factors affect demand. There still seem to be some confusion regarding some key relationships, one of them being the effect of income on public transport demand. The purpose of this article is therefore to provide empirical estimates of how different factors, including price and car ownership (although income being the main issue), affect the demand for local public transport.
Methods: In order to achieve the aim of the study, an econometric FD-model, allowing for unobserved effects, was estimated using panel data from Swedish counties from1986 to 2001.
Results: The short-run (direct) elasticity with respect to fare, vehicle-kilometres, income and car ownership were found to be −0,4, 0,55, 0,34, and −1,37 respectively. However, income affects public transport demand directly, and through its effect on car ownership, these effects works in opposite direction. Combining these, it is found that total income effect is close to zero.
Conclusions: It is concluded that, although the findings of several previous studies suggests that demand for public transport might be falling with increased income, there is no evidence of such effects in this study even when the full effect of changes in income (including changes in car ownership) is taken into account.
Springer, 2013. Vol. 5, no 2, 101-107 p.