RT27 – Margareta Friman and Maria Borjesson – The Swedish Bus Ridership Revolution

RT27 – Margareta Friman and Maria Borjesson – The Swedish Bus Ridership Revolution

Researching Transit – Episode 27

Published: June 2021

Keywords: public transport, transit, bus, ridership, equity, older persons mobility, accessibility, user experience, psychology, transport planning, travel behaviour

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

In this episode, Professor Graham Currie speaks to Margareta Friman and Maria Borjesson, two of the authors of Chapter 20 of the Handbook: Large increases in bus use in Sweden: lessons learned. Margareta Friman works at Karlstad University where she is Pro-vice Chancellor, as well as Professor of Psychology and member of the Service and Market Oriented Transport (SAMOT) Research Group. Maria Borjesson is Professor of Economics and a researcher at VTI – The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute and Likoping University.

Professor Friman talks about the three areas of focus for public transport research at SAMOT: travel behaviour, travel experiences, and perceived accessibility. One of SAMOT’s strengths is pairing psychology and business perspectives to provide insights about the motivations for public transport mode shift. Their research has also elevated the role of the user, not just gaining insights about their travel experiences, but also giving a user focus to contracting and service design. Their perceived accessibility research aims to understand the extent to which users feel they can undertake the travel they want. SAMOT’s ongoing passenger experience research unveiled a shift in the relative importance of ‘stress’ during COVID-19, with its relative importance increasing.

Professor Friman is joined by Professor Maria Borjesson to discuss the lessons learned from Sweden’s major bus network expansion, the focus of Chapter 20 of the Handbook. In recent years, Sweden enjoyed a 50% increase in bus use. How did they achieve this? The country increased the supply of bus services dramatically. Yet despite this expansion, operating costs increased per unit of travel. They attribute this to the bespoke, and not necessarily supply-driven, nature of the revamped network. Increased operating costs have driven up the ticket price of transport dramatically, which has in turn created an equity issue for pre-existing users of public transport. Finally, Sweden has not seen a reduction in car use. This demonstrates the need to understand if bus use can really reduce car travel; a major motivation for Sweden’s investment in the bus network.

Find out more about this research in Chapter 20 of the Handbook of Public Transport Research, co-authored by today’s guests as well as Masoud Fadei, 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 the people and projects in today’s show:


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

  • Date June 27, 2021
  • Tags Podcast