Exploring the propensity to travel by demand responsive transport in the rural area of Lincolnshire in England

Local transport systems in rural areas worldwide are facing significant challenges. In particular, increased car ownership and usage as well as broader socio-economic trends such as ageing populations and cuts in public spending are combining to threaten the bus - the traditional means by which people without cars have accessed the services that they need. Consequently, Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) systems have emerged in a bid to combine the benefits of bus-based and taxi-based services, to deliver a relatively cheap yet comprehensive level of public transport in low demand environments. Unfortunately, while attractive in principle, several barriers conspire to limit the effectiveness of such services in practice.This paper therefore investigates how individual level factors influence the use of DRT systems in rural Lincolnshire in England by applying an ordered logit model to a survey of DRT users in the county. The analysis shows that those who are disabled, travelling for work, or live in less densely populated areas are likely to travel more frequently by DRT. Men are found to travel less frequently than women when they are below pension age. However there are no significant gender differences once they reach retirement age. This highlights an emerging market potential from the retired male market segment. The implications for policy include recommendations that DRT systems should be designed to cater for such market segments through both traditional channels and through further engagement with employers.