Denmark : Combining demand responsive public transport with fixed bus and train networks in a digital journey planner

Denmark : Combining demand responsive public transport with fixed bus and train networks in a digital journey planner

The transport authorities in Denmark have found a viable solution to the well-known and worldwide challenge of first & last mile transportation that can provide a both cost effective and high-level public transportation service in areas with low passenger demand. Probably one of the firsts of its kind.

We have for years mastered demand responsive transportation. Even in a model, where different types of passengers travel together in the same vehicles as e.g. patients, disabled and public transport passengers. In total 6.3 million passengers were transported with DRT in Denmark in 2018 thereof 1.1 million with DRPT – in a country with a population of less than 6 million.

Initially, our demand responsive transportation started as a service for special needs passengers, which was carried out in small/medium sized vehicles. The service was only available to pre-qualified users, such as people with disabilities and elderly. However, the volume of passengers with special needs made it possible to make the same service available to the general public by taking advantage of the same vehicles. As a result, demand responsive public transportation (DRPT) is a widespread service in Denmark. Passengers can order a DRPT trip either by phone or online (booking site/app).

We organize DRT to increase the usage of the vehicles and coordinate trips, so passengers travel together between pick-up and drop-off locations according to each passenger’s needs whenever possible. This is executed by common IT-systems that secure the planning of all trips with the use of close to 600 vehicles in average per day. The common IT systems have proven valuable for a long period of time, but the systems are unable to fulfill the future demands for organizing and executing DRT. Therefore, we plan to send a new and future-proof version of the system out to tender later in 2019.

The initial aim with the DRPT solution was to provide a public transportation service in areas with low passenger demand. But it has also shown to be an important service for elderly in urban areas where even small walking distances to the bus stop can pose a challenge.

Currently, Movia is cooperating with the other transportation authorities in Denmark on combining DRPT with traditional public transport running along fixed routes (bus and train) in the nationwide digital multimodal journey planer – one of the most popular apps in Denmark.

We still aim to provide a public transport service in areas with low passenger demand, but in a way that secures that the fixed route transportation network is offered as the only option when it is an available option. In other words:

  • DRPT is included, when a person searches for possible public transportation options in the journey planner. DRPT will however only occur when it is not possible to travel with bus or train for the entire trip.
  • If it is not possible to take the trip using bus or train, then demand responsive public transportation will be available to the passenger and bring them to and/or from public transportation in fixed routes (first/last mile). The concept is illustrated below.
  • When it is not possible to combine DRPT with bus or train, a journey exclusively with DRPT will be offered.
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Testing DRPT in the national wide journey planner in five municipalities

Movia is currently conducting a pilot test of the new service in five municipalities”. In the illustration below, a search result in the Journey Planner is shown where DRPT goes by the Danish name “Plustur”. As it is depicted the traveler uses DRPT as a connection to the bus route network.

Below are the initial overall conclusions in the early test phase:

  • The majority of the users are between 20 and 60 years old. This is in contrast to Movia’s regular DRPT service, where 65 percent of the passengers are 70 years old or more.
  • The distance covered with DRPT in the Journey Planner is relatively short - 10 kilometers or less.

The next step will be to make the service an option for all 45 municipalities on Zealand in 2019. In a strategic perspective, the introduction of a new user-friendly DRPT service in the Journey Planner is a step towards providing our customers a Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) solution because we can offer one planning process in one journey planner.

For information: Mr Jesper Nygård Kristensen

  • Updated : March 27, 2019

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