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Bus Ridership

Effects of Deferred Payment and Fare Manipulations on Urban Bus Ridership

Individuals living in 152 households were exposed to various economic incentives designed to promote bus ridership, and a corresponding reduction in automobile driving. The frequency of bus riding and the number of miles driven were recorded during a 3-week baseline, 4-week treatment, and 2-week follow-up period. Following baseline, households were randomly assigned to one of the following conditions:

  • No treatment control;
  • Credit only, where credit slips allowed subjects to board the bus for free and be billed the full fare later;
  • Credit plus inverted fare, where individuals were billed for half of the fare if they rode the bus frequently;
  • Credit plus differential fare, where individuals were billed for half fare if they rode the bus during off-peak hours;
  • Free tickets, where subjects were not billed for bus rides.

The groups did not differ in ridership during baseline or follow-up periods. In contrast, during treatment, subjects in the credit plus inverted fare and the free ticket groups displayed significant increases in ridership. However, bus ridership levels were not associated with automobile miles driven. These outcomes indicated that whereas selective economic incentives can facilitate ridership such changes were not large and they did not lead to sustained increases in bus ridership or reductions in automobile driving.

The Effects of Non-Contingent Free Bus tickets and Personal Commitment on Urban Bus Ridership

To compare the effects of free rides and commitment to a performance goal on increasing bus ridership in an urban setting, 83 non-bus riding automobile drivers were exposed to one of the following conditions:

  • Control where route and schedule information were provided;
  • Commitment, where subjects agreed to ride the bus twice a week during the treatment period;
  • Free Tickets, where an unlimited supply of free bus tickets were provided;
  • Free Tickets plus Commitment, where the free transit and commitment conditions were combined.

While there were no systematic differences between the experimental conditions, each of them produced significantly higher levels of ridership than the no-treatment control group during the 4-week treatment period and the two subsequent follow-up periods. The results suggest that both free rides and agreement to a specific performance goal can overcome many of the obstacles which prevent individuals from initiating and maintaining regular patterns of bus ridership.

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Traffic Safety

Evaluation of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission DUII Reduction Team Program

Public Policy Research evaluated the impact of the Oregon Liquor Control Commission DUII Reduction Team Program. This program was designed to reduce over service problems at businesses frequently reported as the last place of drinking on the DUII monthly data base maintained by the State of Oregon. The Commission established an escalating series of countermeasures to decrease overservice problems at targeted establishments. Our evaluation included both process and outcome components. The evaluation indicated the program had an initial impact on reducing the incidence of problem drinking at hi-risk businesses. However, this effect was relatively short lived, as the frequency of last-place-of-drinking citations gradually increased at these sites.

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Alternative Transportation

Car Sharing: Breaking Out of the Transportation Trap

Public Policy Research is currently engaged in a program of research on car sharing, an innovative transportation alternative in which individuals share vehicle usage in an approximate one-car-to-ten person ratio. Car sharing in Europe, and especially in Switzerland and Germany, is becoming increasingly popular. For those who do not own a car or would like to have only one, car sharing offers an attractive transportation option. Recent research indicates that individuals who belong to car sharing organizations tend to drive less, use public transportation more often. It also increases the likelihood that they will dispose their personal vehicle or avoid buying one. As a result, car sharing can have a significant impact on energy consumption, automobile emissions and traffic congestion.

Car Sharing Portland Review and Analysis of Its First Year.

Car Sharing Portland (CSP), the first commercial car sharing organization in this country, completed its first year of operation at the end of February 1999. At that time it had 110 active members who shared 9 vehicles located at 7 sites. Car Sharing Portland sought to decrease unnecessary automobile travel by providing individuals, who did not own a vehicle or sought an alternative to owning a second vehicle, access to one for their short term travel needs. This report constituted a comprehensive review and analysis of Car Sharing Portland's first year of operation.

Car Sharing First Year Evaluation (PDF file)

CarpoolMatch.NW.org Monitoring and Verification Plan

In response to growing regional transportation problems, PPR assisted the Oregon Climate Trust to develop evaluation plan for an innovative web-based carpool/vanpool matching service. The service is primarily designed to curtail the emission of 70,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide over a ten-year period by decreasing single occupancy vehicle commute trips. Known as CarpoolMatchNW.org, it matches individuals who register at its Web site with others who live in their area who have a comparable commuting route and schedule.

Car Pooling Report (PDF file)

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