The potential impact of new urban public transport systems on travel behaviour
Predicting the potential impacts of new urban public transport on people's travel behaviour is very complex. A key aspect of travel behaviour is the choice of mode. It is particularly difficult to estimate the number of people who will use new urban public transport systems. Understanding modal choices related to these systems is especially important in view of concerns about the impact of the car on the environment, on quality of life and on congestion levels in towns and cities. In this thesis, the modal choices of potential users of two new light rail systems, Luas in Dublin and Tramlink in Croydon, are examined. The decision-making processes behind these people's modal choices are explored using a theory that has been borrowed from social psychology called the Theory of Planned Behaviour. In order to apply the Theory of Planned Behaviour it is necessary to identify the attitudes, beliefs and perceptions of behavioural control of potential users. Hence, interviews have been carried out with potential users of Croydon Tramlink in the six months immediately prior to its opening. This thesis will describe those interviews, the analysis of them and the findings. In addition, follow-up studies were conducted six months after the opening of the system in order to examine how many of the interviewees had used the system. In Dublin, questionnaires were distributed to potential users of the new light rail system planned for the city. The questionnaires were distributed 2 years before the planned opening of the system. The thesis concludes that the Theory of Planned Behaviour is an appropriate tool for understanding and explaining modal choices, particularly those modal choices that relate to new urban public transport. It is also concluded that both Luas and Tramlink are likely to be successful systems and will generate new trips.