Understanding the role of perceptions, deprivation and public transport provision in the variability of walk distances to access public transport across urban areas

van Soest, Dennis ORCID: 0000-0002-4863-8818 (2020). Understanding the role of perceptions, deprivation and public transport provision in the variability of walk distances to access public transport across urban areas. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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A shift from car travel to active transport can offer benefits to various problems in urban areas, such as public health, traffic safety and congestion. A major disadvantage of active transport (in particular walking) for most people compared to motorised transport is the limited range, which can be complemented by public transport. Therefore, it is important to understand how walking relates to public transport in urban environments. A frequently adopted guideline in public transport planning around the world is that, based on observations, people would be willing to walk up to 400m for buses and 800m for rail transport. Previous research on walk distances to and from public transport however found large variations and mainly considered how these distances are influenced by the type of public transport, the built environment, journey characteristics and personal characteristics such as gender, age, household size and income.
The aim of this research project is to develop the understanding of the role of perceptions, neighbourhood deprivation and public transport provision in the variability of walk distances to and from public transport across urban areas. To do this, the walk distance to and from public transport was conceptualised, based on the literature, as an interaction between the demand for travel using public transport and walking and the provision of public transport services and walk infrastructure in the built environment. Both sides were examined in further detail in this research. With regard to the demand side, the perceived barriers towards public transport and walking were investigated using a postal questionnaire survey in four different areas of Birmingham, mainly distinctive for their level of deprivation and railway access. The perceived barriers were questioned in two different ways: by rating sets of predefined barriers and using an open approach based on free associations. The supply side was studied using a smartphone tracking study that gathered detailed travel data of participants in the two least deprived study areas.
Whereas walking was associated with many positive aspects, public transport was perceived much more negatively and associated with various barriers, of which travel time, the unreliability of the service, expense and access issues were the most prevalent ones. The perceived barriers to public transport were found to be significantly influenced by the public transport provision in a neighbourhood. Differences in neighbourhood deprivation tended to affect perceptions as well, although this effect was mostly attributable to differences in socio-demographic factors. It was also found that the barriers to public transport and walking were related to each other and that the experience of one mode can influence how other modes are perceived.
Overall, it was concluded that the variability in public transport related walk distances is mainly caused by the provision of public transport services (routes and stops). This both directly affects the distances people need to walk as well as the perceived barriers to using public transport and walking, which shape the demand for walking to or from public transport. The directness of the public transport routes in relation to where people live and want to go is of importance, in which the length of the access and egress walks are related to each other.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Rogers, ChrisUNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0002-1693-1999
Tight, MilesUNSPECIFIEDorcid.org/0000-0002-6635-8721
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Engineering, Department of Civil Engineering
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Other Funders: University of Birmingham
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HE Transportation and Communications
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/10530


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