Paratransit: the need for a regulatory revolution in the light of institutional inertia

2016-11-02T15:41:51Z (GMT) by Marcus Enoch Stephen Potter
© 2016 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited.Purpose - This chapter adopts a transport systems approach to explore why the adoption of paratransit modes is low and sporadic. Regulatory and institutional barriers are identified as a major reason for this. The chapter then reviews key trends and issues relating to the uptake of, and barriers to, paratransit modes. Based on this analysis a new regulatory structure is proposed. Design/methodology/approach - Case studies and research/practice literature. Findings - Following an exploration of the nature of paratransit system design and traditional definitions of ‘paratransit’, it is concluded that institutional barriers are critical. However, current societal trends and service developments, and in particular initiatives from the technology service industry, are developing significant new paratransit models. The chapter concludes with a proposed redefinition of paratransit to facilitate a regulatory change to help overcome its institutional challenges. Research limitations/implications - A paratransit transformation of public transport services would produce travel behaviours different from models and perspectives built around corridor/timetabled public transport services. Practical implications - Technology firm invaders (e.g. Uber) are viewed as disrupters from normal transport planning to be controlled or excluded. However they may be the key to a transport system transformation. Social implications - Existing public transport modes are ill-suited to modern patterns of travel demand. A system involving paratransit could produce enhanced social mobility and system-level improvements in CO2 emissions. Originality/value - This chapter identifies the key issues raised by the emergence of new paratransit modes and the new actors involved. A new regulatory structure is proposed which reflects this understanding.