How do passenger and trip attributes affect walking distances to bus public transport stops? Evidence from university students in Greece
The spatial arrangement of public transport systems seriously affects their ridership and thus the fulfillment of sustainable transport goals. This paper examines the case of students at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and investigates their perceptions regarding a critical spatial attribute of public transport, that is, the walking distance they have to cover to/from bus stops when they commute by bus to their campus. A questionnaire survey was conducted to collect relevant data from 300 students and a set of statistical inference methods was employed to explore whether student-specific attributes relate to the walking distances they consider to be acceptable. Empirical findings highlighted weak relationships between user/trip specific attributes with regard to students, and their walking distance preferences for the bus public transport services they use. The majority of students consider that the maximum acceptable walking distance can be higher than the standard value of 400 meters. Moreover, they would be willing to walk more than they currently do in order to reach a bus stop with higher service frequencies to their campus. The study concept and findings could assist in delivering a more successful spatial design of bus public transport systems which serve university campuses. A more sparsely positioned network of bus stops would provide better opportunities for personal physical activity but should not yield increased total travel times; and they should incorporate local user expectations. Public transport agencies could also benefit from achieving higher service speeds which, in turn, would reduce energy consumption and operating costs.
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