public transport strategies and more

Modasti Consulting provide consulting services in four fields of expertise. Services are conducted by Arjen Jaarsma and/or Petra van den Boorn.

1 – Public Transport Strategies

Public transport visions and strategies – also called public transport master plans – are long-term plans for the development of public transport in a geographical area, very often an urban or metropolitan area. A public transport vision can be part of a broader vision which includes freight transport, Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS), mobility by car, cycling and walking.

In most cases, a governmental body is the initiator of the creation of a public transport strategy or vision. These are created when there is a need for a long-term plan to use as an umbrella plan for sustainable transport measures and investment decisions. With a public transport strategy or vision, an authority can explain the benefits to the public. These plans will point the way forward while considering long-term trends on a demographic, economic and social level.

A good public transport strategy includes a choice for one or more transport modes (like metro, tram, Bus Rapid Transit or autonomous shared vehicles), it financially substantiates this choice and gives predictions about future transport demand, the requested size of the fleet (buses, trains, etc.) and the other necessary assets (stations, depots, etc.) to run an effective public transport system.

A good public transport strategy is solid and robust but flexible when it comes to developments which are difficult to predict (like energy prices, technical innovations and the possible rise of self-driving public transport and MaaS).

Modasti Consulting can assist in all aspects of the development of a public transport vision or strategy. That includes:

  • converting mobility trends, your ideas and those of stakeholders into concrete business strategies;
  • assessing demographic, economic and transport data to develop a solid vision for the public transport system;
  • assessing transport model output to develop a more concrete strategy for the public transport system, including route networks which meet passengers’ demand;
  • advising on the best public transport mode for your city, like Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), light rail or metro;
  • developing route networks for this transport mode;
  • advising about energy source like electricity (for urban rail or electric buses), diesel (the major energy source for buses), gas (like CNG or biogas) or hydrogen;
  • giving a quantitative description of assets and investments needed.

2 – Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Electric Buses

Bus Rapid Transit systems can be cost-effective transport solutions for cities. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) has features of light rail and metro with its own right of way as the most important one. This is typically achieved by bus lanes, segregated from other traffic. Other features of BRT include good quality vehicles, short headways and stations with off-board fare collection. These features result in the smooth and fast operation of the BRT service.

BRT has better key performance indicators than conventional buses operating in mixed traffic, e.g. travel times for passengers and capacity in terms of passengers per hour.

To tackle problems of air pollution and climate changes, a growing number of cities has started a transition process from diesel to electric buses. Therefore, the market for electric (battery) buses is growing.

However, the introduction of electric buses challenges public transport operations and requires a certain restructuring of your business. Driving range of electric buses is still limited, so planning your bus deployment and recharging en route are important. Operational lease contracts for electric buses are difficult to obtain. The upfront investment is high with purchase prices of electric buses nearly twice as high as diesel buses, yet total cost of ownership is comparable to diesel buses due to lower operational costs.

Modasti Consulting can assist in all aspects of the development of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system with electric buses for your city. That includes:

  • developing the right BRT network which meets passengers’ demand;
  • advising on the best concept of the BRT routes (open system where other buses can also enter or a closed system which is only accessible for BRT buses);
  • calculating Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for deployment of the electric BRT buses;
  • developing solutions to tackle financial challenges (high upfront costs) and problems of limited driving range;
  • advising on the best charging concept (overnight or opportunity charging) and developing a cost-efficient plan for charging points en route (at bus stops and/or at the end of lines);
  • assisting with several financial aspects of the BRT system like the height of passengers’ fares, the need of government subsidies for its operations etc.

3 – Finance and Governance of public transport systems

Finance and governance are two key aspects of an effective and sustainable public transport system. Sources of finance are necessary for public transport investments – e.g. the building of a metro line or the purchase of buses – and for the day-to-day operations of the public transport system. Passengers’ revenues, through the sale of tickets, are often the main source of finance for public transport operations, yet also sources like government subsidies or the sales of advertisement space can be important.

Governance of the public transport system is in that respect very important. Who is in charge of the operations, which institution is responsible for realizing investments and who is in charge of asset management? Cities with an efficient public transport system generally have a well-defined governance structure, often with a strong Public Transport Authority.

Modasti Consulting can assist in several finance and governance aspects of public transport systems. That includes:

  • developing a Road Map to achieve a positive business case of your public transport system;
  • advising on the most suitable financing mechanisms for new investments in public transport infrastructure;
  • giving Institutional Support to existing agencies responsible for investments in and operations of public transport;
  • assisting in developing the best governance model for your city;
  • assisting with the introduction of public service contracts and/or public transport concessions.

4 – Integrated Risk Management for public transport systems

Risk Management is an important aspect to guarantee safe and continuous operations of the system for the public and keep the public transport system financially stable. Risks like flooding, terrorist attacks and financial shockwaves (e.g. through decreasing usage of public transport lines) can be a huge threat to your public transport system.

Adequate integrated risk management starts with identifying the goals; of projects, strategic processes and operations. The next step is identifying the events influencing these goals, the risks. Those can be negative as well as positive. For every identified risk there are four possible responses: accept, mitigate, avoid (or exploit in case of a positive event) and transfer (or enhance). How to respond depends on the risk assessment. What are the chances of this event taking place, and what will the impact be if it does? The risk response defines which control measures to take.

In the public transport sector, there is attention being paid to risk management, yet it is quite fragmented. Traditionally, risk analyses are made for (rail) infrastructural projects. There is also attention for climate change, cybersecurity and financial risks.

It is however important to realise that risks do not necessarily stand alone. An integrated approach to risk management is indispensable and this kind of integrated approach is best adopted by Public Transport Authorities (PTAs). They are the ones with the overview, and they have the most interest in controlling risks and the consequences of events.

Modasti Consulting can assist in all aspects of Risk Management of public transport systems. That includes:

  • Assessing of present risk management systems and advising on how to integrate and improve them;
  • Assisting in setting up an integrated risk management system on a strategic and/or operational level;
  • Advising on the adequate risk response and the control measures to be taken for (previously) identified risks;
  • Conducting risk and control assessments in cooperation with management;
  • Advising on maintaining or reaching a healthy balance between procedures and checklists on the one hand, and unconditional trust on the other.