Net Zero

Replacing bus services in low demand areas: Can Demand Responsive Transit (DRT) play a worthwhile and cost-effective role?

With continuing financial pressures on the provision of conventional public transport in rural and low density suburban areas, Demand Responsive Transit systems, providing services by small vehicles running to dynamically determined schedules based on specific customer journey requests, have been advicated as a suitable alternative. Considerable public money has been made available for their intruduction, but how successful have they been, and is this a cost-effective solution? TAPAS presents some contrubutions on this issue, and welcomes further submissions.

Examining Evidence - Demand Responsive Transit (DRT)


What is the place for DRT in the wider public transport system?

Each transport mode has operational and economic attributes that define its potential to play a role within the overall mix of options. As technologies and business concepts evolve, the transport options change too. But reality and cost-effectiveness, rather than promotional claims, should define the most appropriate choices in public policy and expenditure on them, argues Professor Peter White. He is concerned in particular about an absence of consistent examination and evaluation about what Demand Responsive Transport can deliver at an acceptable cost.

The Theoretical and Practical Limits to Demand Responsive Transport Services

As someone involved in studying and delivering community transport and dial-a-ride schemes from the 1980s, and more recently a consultant to one of the Rural Mobility Fund DRT projects, John Sutton believes he can offer some perspective and realism to the true prospects for DRT in the passenger transport spectrum. In this contribution he explores the theoretical and practical limits of DRT, and why these realities mean it can only be effective in limited niche markets and special circumstances, even with the deployment of the latest scheduling and communications technology.

Wider thinking can help tackle challenges of DRT

Demand Responsive Transport may rarely pay its way in conventional terms, but creative thinking about the roles it can play, and linking up with other transport objectives, can potentially enhance the value for money it provides says Richard Jeremy, Principal Consultant Bus Services, SYSTRA, who has examined DRT in rural areas in the UK and overseas

Can 30 DRT minibuses really hope to successfully replace up to 40 bus routes?

Last month saw the controversial withdrawal of many tendered bus routes within the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) area, and their replacement with an extensive Demand Responsive Transit operation. Roger French is sceptical about how well the new system will do the job, and whether DRT is ever a cost-effective alternative. Here he explores the background to the project, and how things may work out for passengers, and the transport authorities. Based on past experience he is not too optimistic.

Observations on the role and future potential of DRT services in Britain

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See also these specific DRT project reports:

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