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Transportation

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 25–52 | Cite as

Some evidence of transit demand elasticities

  • Michael A. Kemp
Article

Abstract

This paper draws together empirical evidence from a variety of sources about the magnitudes of transit price elasticities and cross-elasticities. A number of different practical measures of demand elasticity are first defined and some expectations about magnitude are discussed. Evidence is then collated from the analysis of transit operating statistics, from experience in demonstration projects and from attempts to develop cross-sectional models of demand and modal choice.

In general, all of the limited evidence available suggests that transit demand is inelastic with respect to money price. Typically, ridership is significantly more sensitive to changes in the level of service (particularly door-to-door journey time) than to changes in fare, although service elasticities also are usually numerically less than unity.

In broad terms, short-run direct fare elasticities are characteristically observed to lie within the range of -0.1 to −0.7. A more precise value in a particular instance will depend on a variety of factors in ways which largely support a priori notions. Thus in very large cities, central city areas, at peak hours, and in other circumstances where the prices of alternative modes are high, transit fare elasticities are usually numerically at the lower end of the range.

Estimates of cross-elasticities (representing the volumes of transit traffic diverted to other modes by transit price increases) are much harder to come by, and in fact only a few very uncertain estimates are presented here.

Keywords

Journey Time Central City Price Elasticity Demonstration Project Modal Choice 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael A. Kemp
    • 1
  1. 1.The Urban InstituteN.W., Washington

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