75% Prefer Better-Connected Public Transport Over Driving, Hitachi Study Reveals

Hitachi Rail has published a new report exploring attitudes to public transport and smart mobility in eight cities around the world.

The study found that three-quarters (75%) of people would choose a better-connected public transport system over driving.

Results revealed a strong demand for smart transport solutions to improve costs, convenience and comfort. People also demonstrated a willingness to pay for improvements through increased taxes on private transport.

Hitachi Transport Study
Better connected public transport can cut urban car usage

The report was conducted by independent consumer research company, Savanta ComRes. It explored over 8,000 peoples’ attitudes in eight major cities: Washington DC, Toronto, London, Paris, Dusseldorf, Turin, Dubai and Bangkok.

Hitachi Rail commissioned the study to better understand the contributing factors for using public transport and to provide insights for transport planners to increase public transport usage.

Ludmil Neykov, Chief Digital Officer, Hitachi Rail, said:

“Cities face significant pressure to reduce the cost of operating their transport networks, cut congestion and minimise CO2. This can be achieved by moving people out of their cars and onto public transport, which poses a significant challenge for many cities and for many reasons.

“Our research shows that three-quarters of people would use public transport more often if it was better-connected and more convenient, and that access to a single smart phone app for the entire network would be preferable. From Turin to Paris, and from Toronto to Bangkok, we are ready help cities to reduce costs, carbon and congestion through our digital systems and services.”

Responses highlighted that overcrowding (48%) and busyness (42%) of services were the biggest factors deterring people. Meanwhile, cost, convenience and comfort were the most significant motivators.

The resulted also demonstrated common opinions on how public transport networks can overcome existing barriers, with an emphasis on digitalisation.

For example, 73% stated that they would be more likely to travel on public transport if they could see live information on crowding levels. This was particularly prominent in Bangkok, where 9 in 10 people expressed this opinion.

However, digitalisation also presents its own barriers, as almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents were put off from using public transport if required to use multiple apps. In addition, only just over half were willing to share their payment details with multiple travel apps.

Hitachi Rail’s vision for smart mobility is to digitalise and optimise all modes public transport.

In July 2022, it launched its first smart mobility project in Genoa, Italy, digitally connecting public and private hire transport across the city with its 360Pass smart phone app. This enabled users to plan multi-modal journeys with live service updates, including information on the crowding levels of incoming services.

Ilaria Gavuglio, CEO of Genoa’s public transport operator AMT, said:

“Public transport must sit at the heart of the mobility revolution, becoming the backbone for how people travel in large urban and suburban areas. Our focus is on smarter digital transport - as AMT delivers in Genoa through the GoGoGe app based on Hitachi Rail’s 360Pass technology. The story for future public transport is based in convenience and comfort, and will be delivered by digitalisation. We have to work to deliver a system that is increasingly attractive, effective and sustainable, delivering green transport for our citizens and for the benefit of society. The challenge is to increase the use of public mobility compared to private vehicles. Our Mobility-as-a-Service approach builds a business model that is designed to meet passenger needs: easy, immediate, integrated and comfortable.”

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