RT31 – Alexa Delbosc and Graham Currie – The paradigm shift in revenue protection research and practice

RT31 – Alexa Delbosc and Graham Currie – The paradigm shift in revenue protection research and practice

Researching Transit – Episode 31

Published: August 2021

Keywords: Public transport, fare evasion, revenue protection, psychology, motivations

This is the ninth episode in the Research Transit Handbook of Public Transport Research Series. Links to the book can be found at the end of the notes.

In this episode, Laura Aston speaks to Dr Alexa Delbosc and Professor Graham Currie. Today’s guests will be familiar to many in the audience. Dr Delbosc was interviewed on the show in episode 22, addressing the psychology of public transport. She is a lecturer with the Institute of Transport Studies in the Department of Civil Engineering at Monash University. Professor Currie, your regular host and editor of the Handbook of Public Transport Research, is Director of the Public Transport Research Group at Monash University. Today they discuss Chapter 7 of the Handbook: The Paradigm Shift in Revenue Protection Research and Practice. The chapter is unique in providing a case study in impactful industry partnership. It presents the findings of a major program of research, funded by Victoria’s Department of Transport, which generated major economic savings for the State.

Our guests set the scene by explaining the impetus for this research. Globally, agencies may lose up to 25% of revenue to fare evasion, costing in the hundred of millions of dollars. Yet prior to this project, which commenced in 2011/12, there was limited understanding of the motivations for fare evading. Dr Delbosc explains how the project contributed to shifting the focus of revenue protection research from conventional systems control perspectives and customer profiling, to the more nuanced approach of customer motivations. Following the success of their research, the customer motivations perspective on fare evasion has taken off around the world.

By combining numerous psychological frameworks that help understand human motivations, the project was able to identify four different rationales for fare evading, ranging from Accidental Evaders to Career Evaders (Figure 1). Importantly, they were able to quantify the revenue loss associated with different motivations. This was an important discovery that led to the development of effective responses, including a marketing campaign which targeted often affluent ‘freeloaders’. This campaign, along with other targeted interventions, saw fare evasion in Victoria reduce from 12% to 5% in 2015, saving the government $45 million (Figure 2).

Find out more about this research in Chapter 7 of the Handbook of Public Transport Research, available for purchase from the publisher’s website: https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/handbook-of-public-transport-research-9781788978651.html

Find out more about today’s guests

For an overview of the research program discussed during today’s show, visit the Psychology of Fare Evasion Research Website:

http://publictransportresearchgroup.info/portfolio-item/understanding-the-psychology-of-fare-evasion/

Read more about the fare evasion research and it’s findings in published research papers:

Fare Evasion ‘Rationale’ Segments – Attitudes and Perspectives

Figure 1: Fare Evasion ‘Rationale’ Segments – Attitudes and Perspectives


Figure 2: Melbourne Fare Compliance Before and After the Research Program and the ‘Freeloader’ Media Campaign

Figure 2: Melbourne Fare Compliance Before and After the Research Program and the ‘Freeloader’ Media Campaign

Have feedback? Find us on twitter and Instagram @transitpodcast or using #researchingtransit

Music from this episode is from https://www.purple-planet.com

  • Date August 22, 2021
  • Tags Podcast