From Low fares to no fares: an analysis of economic, operational, socio-spatial and political dynamics of fare-Free public Transport


CALL: 2019

DOMAIN: SR - Environmental and Earth Sciences

FIRST NAME: Veronique

LAST NAME: Van Acker




KEYWORDS: fare-free public transport; transport-related impacts; urban impacts; oplitical dynamics; Dunkirk; Luxembourg; mixed-methods; scenarios

START: 2020-01-01



Submitted Abstract

The proposed project focuses on the policy of abolishing fares inpublic transport (PT) systems, otherwise known as fare-free publictransport (FFPT). Although FFPT has become an establishedpractice, discussed and implemented by policy-makers acrossEurope, it remains largely controversial and under-researched. Themain objective of the project is therefore to understand bothtransport-related (economic, operational) and urban (social, spatialand political) aspects of FFPT. The project builds on three researchstrategies, each involving both qualitative and quantitative methods.First, to unpack economic and operational dimension of FFPT (i.e. to understand how much fare abolition costs, and how it works), aglobal survey of all its detected cases will be conducted, providingthe most comprehensive analysis of the policy to date. Second, theparticular cases of Dunkirk and Luxembourg will be studied.Multisource user surveys and in-depth interviews will be conducted to investigate how fare abolition affects travel behaviour, lifestyle andwell-being across diverse socio-economic groups. Local stakeholder, political bodies, electoral programmes and media will be analysed to unpack the spatial and political impact of FFPT, across institutions and administrative boundaries. Third, together with expert focus groups, the project team will build on insights from Dunkirk and Luxembourg to project and analyse scenarios for potential fare abolition in Brussels.

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