Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

development of public transport

Expand Messages
  • Simon Norton
    I would like to develop the idea of taking old and new mobility in a literal sense. When did the key concepts of public transport develop ? These can be
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 8, 2010
    • 0 Attachment
      I would like to develop the idea of taking "old" and "new" mobility in a literal
      sense.

      When did the key concepts of public transport develop ? These can be taken as
      follows.

      1. Passengers travel on a vehicle that they neither own nor hire for exclusive
      use.

      2. The vehicle plies on a route without prior indication of specific demand.

      3. The vehicle is open for anyone to use.

      4. The vehicle (or other vehicles in the system) serves a variety of places so
      that it can cater for most of people's end to end journey. (The antithesis of
      this is a ferry service that just covers the river crossing component of a
      journey the rest of which would be walked, ridden or travelled by private
      vehicle.)

      My question therefore is when and where did a transport system incorporating
      these elements first develop ? Is there any source for information about the
      origins of public transport ?

      Modern demand responsive systems dispense with 2 above. I think that the
      requirement to prebook can be an inconvenience for travellers but it is not
      fatal to the concept of public transport (and it can bring benefits in terms of
      better services). However some modern substitutes for public transport, e.g.
      dial a ride buses for disabled people in areas where every "normal" person is
      assumed to have access to a car, also dispense with 3 and 4, and I regard them
      as abdicating from the responsibility to provide for people's transport needs.

      Simon Norton
    • Heather & Kerry Wood
      Simon I think it just sort of happened. In Britain, sailing barges carrying freight, passengers or both were making regular river and coastal trips by the
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 9, 2010
      • 0 Attachment
        Simon

        I think it just sort of happened. 

        In Britain, sailing barges carrying freight, passengers or both were making regular river and coastal trips by the fifteenth century, with recognised 'bus stops'. Road wagons, stagecoaches and mail coaches joined in as demand increased and the roads improved, then rail cleaned up the long-distance trade in the nineteenth century. One known example is that in the 1660s a wagon left Cripplegate (in London) every Thursday for Cambridge and Huntington, a three-day trip.

        The Royal Mail was established in about 1100 but was government-only until 1635. Initially the service only carried about 130 letters a year (an interesting comment on small-government). The mail went on horseback for centuries, until someone thought it would be a good add-on to a stagecoach service. 

        The first stagecoach from London to Glasgow was in 1758. Just before then, James Watt rode from Greenock to London in 12 days, using hired horses from a chain of stables, and his chest went by wagon to Leigh and London by sea. 

        There were around mail coach 20 services radiating from London by 1800, and there was a timetable written in to the contract, with each service checked at each post office. At the peak in the mid-1830s one service was timed to run 170 miles in 17 hours, including all stops.

        Urban public transport began when cities became too large for walking (1840s in London?), initially using designs based on stagecoaches.

        The only specific source of information I know of is 'An economic history of transport in Britain' by Barker and Savage.

        Another key concept is a timetable, even if it is once a week.


        I don't see anything wrong with dial-a-ride services as a supplement to 'real' public transport, but things can certainly go wrong when public transport is seen as charity. I recently came across a classic example: ten buses a day, each taking 28 minutes to run one-way around a very convoluted loop. The last bus ended the last loop at 18.08. The route length was 11.6 kilometres but the whole route fitted inside a circle of three kilometers diameter. Most potential users would find walking quicker and more reliable, most of the time.
        (Note that the service speed is very good, 25 km/h, which suggests that it rarely has to stop)

        A growing fashion in New Zealand is for the local authority to specify a 400 m bus stop spacing, sometimes without being clear about whether it is an average or a maximum. (Four hundred metres is almost exactly the old British tramway rule-of-thumb, four stops per mile) In practice the spacing must vary and spacings of as little as 100 m can be found.
        There are equations and even software for all this.

        What matters is not the stop-to-stop distance but the stop-to-origin and stop-to-destination distances. And here the catering-for-the disabled arguments begin. Many disabled people can manage quite long distances so long as there is public seating every few hundred metres. 
        (BUT I have a home-to-stop distance choice of 50 m or 800 m and prefer 800m: I need the exercise)

        Fewer stops and fewer routes mean more and faster services for a given bucket of dollars, and fast trips (door-to-door) attract passengers. The disabled must be provided for, but must not be allowed to demand a service that fails others.

        Another problem is that politicians will not agree to stop closures. A recent example here was a passenger rail stop servicing a dozen passengers a day. Such a stop will delay a train by say two or three minutes each way, including braking and acceleration, so two stops might slow a round trip by ten minutes. If the desired peak-hour service is every ten minutes, keeping those two stops open is going to need another train, costing say $20 million, just so that ten or a hundred passengers don't have to drive to the next station.


        Let me try and draw some conclusions from all this, for a modern city.

        Fundamentals
        -- Available to all, no exclusive use
        -- Fixed route, published timetable
        -- Minimum service hours and headways.

        Objectives
        -- Attract passengers from cars
        -- All services suitable for most disabled people, with specialist back-up as needed.

        Focus areas
        -- Bang for buck
        -- All trips by all modes
        -- Appropriate modal split. Buses certainly, other modes as needed
        -- Door-to-door trip speeds, including walking, waiting and interchange times
        -- Integrated fares, off-bus ticketing
        -- Bus priority (the objective is bus speed, not bus lanes)
        -- Accurate timekeeping, to minimise waiting and interchange times, and especially missed connections
        -- Quality services
        -- Feedback to service providers
        -- Systematic problem-solving
        -- Cooperation between service providers, even if this limits competition
        -- Politicians using it, especially the transport committee!


        Kerry Wood


         
        On 9/06/2010, at 4:22 AM, Simon Norton wrote:

        I would like to develop the idea of taking "old" and "new" mobility in a literal
        sense.

        When did the key concepts of public transport develop ? These can be taken as
        follows.

        1. Passengers travel on a vehicle that they neither own nor hire for exclusive
        use.

        2. The vehicle plies on a route without prior indication of specific demand.

        3. The vehicle is open for anyone to use.

        4. The vehicle (or other vehicles in the system) serves a variety of places so
        that it can cater for most of people's end to end journey. (The antithesis of
        this is a ferry service that just covers the river crossing component of a
        journey the rest of which would be walked, ridden or travelled by private
        vehicle.)

        My question therefore is when and where did a transport system incorporating
        these elements first develop ? Is there any source for information about the
        origins of public transport ?

        Modern demand responsive systems dispense with 2 above. I think that the
        requirement to prebook can be an inconvenience for travellers but it is not
        fatal to the concept of public transport (and it can bring benefits in terms of
        better services). However some modern substitutes for public transport, e.g.
        dial a ride buses for disabled people in areas where every "normal" person is
        assumed to have access to a car, also dispense with 3 and 4, and I regard them
        as abdicating from the responsibility to provide for people's transport needs.

        Simon Norton





        ------------------------------------

        Check in here via the homepage at http://www.newmobility.org   
        To post message to group: NewMobilityCafe@yahoogroups.com
        Please think twice before posting to the group as a whole
        (It might be that your note is best sent to one person?)



        Yahoo! Groups Links

        <*> To visit your group on the web, go to:
           http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NewMobilityCafe/

        <*> Your email settings:
           Individual Email | Traditional

        <*> To change settings online go to:
           http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NewMobilityCafe/join
           (Yahoo! ID required)

        <*> To change settings via email:
           NewMobilityCafe-digest@yahoogroups.com
           NewMobilityCafe-fullfeatured@yahoogroups.com

        <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
           NewMobilityCafe-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com

        <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to:
           http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/


      • Simon Norton
        I don t quite understand Robin Chase s posting of 9 June. Nobody is saying that the existence of public transport prevents car drivers from offering rides,
        Message 3 of 3 , Jun 20, 2010
        • 0 Attachment
          I don't quite understand Robin Chase's posting of 9 June. Nobody is saying that
          the existence of public transport prevents car drivers from offering rides,
          whether for payment or otherwise. As far as I know if insurance companies etc.
          impose restrictions on ridesharing it isn't at the behest of public transport
          undertakings, who wouldn't have the clout to demand such restrictions.

          On the other hand, ridesharing isn't public transport. As far as I know, no
          industrialised country has a system where people can go out onto the road and
          make the journey they want in other people's cars with a reasonable assurance
          that they will be able to get to their destination in a given time.

          To my mind public transport is a marvellous invention which I want to celebrate.
          It enables people to make a wide variety of journeys without the hassle of
          maintaining a vehicle, finding somewhere to put it and having to return to that
          point to resume one's journey, and having to concentrate on the road while
          driving it. I personally regard these as more important than the constraints
          imposed on one's journey by having to walk to a bus stop or station, having to
          wait for a bus or train, and being confined to the routes served by buses and
          trains, provided that the system is planned in such a way as to minimise these
          constraints; in particular, unless so much of the demand has been abstracted
          away by private transport that the system that remains is no longer adequate for
          people's needs. Unfortunately this very situation has obtained in most
          industrialised countries.

          I may add that the 3 problems I mentioned also apply to cycling, except that the
          first and part of the second can be avoided by means of a Velib type system and
          the third by a good off road cycling network.

          Simon Norton
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.