Applicability of ICT solutions in passenger transport – case studies from different European backgrounds
Impact of Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) on sustainable transport development is indisputable. It can be tested through various methods. The identification and detailed analysis of specific types of ICT solutions, case studies approach or scenarios analysis are examples of perspectives for impact assessment that can lead to the proof that successful applications of ICT solutions entails optimised, more accessible, less resource consuming and less emission intensive transport. The impact of ICTs in travel induction and substitution and resulting decarbonisation effect is difficult to assess isolated from other social, economic and technologic drivers. Financial applicability reflects initial investment cost as well as operation maintenance costs. Organizational feasibility refers primarily to the necessary changes in organisation and conduct of operations created by introduction of ICTs. The social factor results from user and public acceptance or lack of it. User acceptance is combination of many sub factors of which most important are: D2D travel time, D2D travel costs, comfort and convenience, safety and security. The objective of the article is to present the applicability of ICT solutions in passenger transport from the perspective of transport users taking into consideration real case studies from different European background. These case studies were identified as a result of specific selection process in order to receive a complex and differentiated sample. The first element of the selection process was the identification of ICT solutions to be applied in case studies. The next element was the choice of regions corresponding to varied economic and geographic characteristics. In addition, cultural factors have a strong impact on the behaviour of users. The resulting multidimensional factor matrix allows for the selection of best fitting case studies, which have potential to cover most of the ICT applications. Five European settings are selected for in-depth research. Each case represents different geographic, social and economic area, which forms a good European sample across differentiated setups. Case studies are supported by user surveys. Surveys allow for direct answers regarding user attitudes towards proposed ICTs. Based on this approach findings could be reported. The main conclusion is that users in various regions with very different characteristics as to the wealth, GDP levels, geography, and cultural backgrounds represent surprisingly similar attitudes towards ICTs. Specific findings regarding different types of solutions and different type of users are presented in the article. The analysis of selected case studies shows also that they could offer solution to many of transport sector problems including key issues from transport policy agenda: environment, mobility or accessibility. The paper is based on the authors research conducted within COMPASS project (Optimised co-modal passenger transport for reducing carbon emissions, project co-funded by the European Commission within the Seventh Framework Programme).
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