RT26 – John Preston – A Total Social Cost Perspective on Public Transport

RT26 – John Preston – A Total Social Cost Perspective on Public Transport

Researching Transit – Episode 26

Published: June 2021

Keywords: public transport, total social cost, externalities, user cost, straddling bus, demand forecasting, rail transit

This is the fourth episode in the Researching Transit Handbook of Public Transport Research series. Links to obtain the book can be found at the end of the notes.

In this episode, Professor Graham Currie speaks to the author of Chapter 9, The Total Social Cost (TSC) of Public Transport Modes, Professor John Preston. John Preston is Professor of Rail Transport in the Transportation Research Group at the University of Southampton.

Professor Preston talks about his pathway into rail transit research, noting the shifting focus particularly in the realm of transit demand forecasting. He notes the move away from probabilistic demand models, suggesting future research will need to deliver more nuanced understanding of the drivers of transit ridership. Professor Preston discusses some of the projects his research group and collaborators have delivered, including station-level demand prediction tools, and an ongoing project to develop Mobility as a Service tools.

Professor Preston then elaborates the concept of Total Social Cost (TSC) models of public transport, the focus of his Chapter in the Handbook of Public Transport Research. TSC comprises three elements: operator costs, user costs and external costs. As well as considering operator costs, the TSC approach to modelling transit alternatives considers their ease of use (user cost) and their impact on such external factors as congestion, emissions and safety (external costs). Considering all three can help agencies and governments choose more appropriate transit technologies. The book chapter contains more detail concerning the economic appraisal of each aspect along with case studies from Vietnam and China (used to evaluate the famous straddling bus concept (1) among others) about the economic costing of each aspect.

Figure 1 - Example Total Social Cost Alternative Transit Mode Analysis in Vietnam (Source Vu and Preston 2020)

Figure 1 – Example Total Social Cost Alternative Transit Mode Analysis in Vietnam (Source: Vu and Preston 2020)

Find out more about this research in Chapter 9 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

Learn more about Professor Preston and the concepts in today’s show:

 

Notes: (1) Straddling Bus Concept (China): https://youtu.be/t1gTzc7-IbQ

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

  • Date June 13, 2021
  • Tags Podcast