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Guillermo Velázquez

Public transport users´preferences and willingness to pay for a public transportation mobile app in Madrid
Cities play a key role in our society; they generate high levels of wealth, employment and productivity, and often serve as the engines of their national economies (OECD, 2013). According to the Green Paper of the European Commission just under 85% of the EU’s GDP is generated in urban areas, which are home to over 60% of the EU’s population (European Commission, 2007).
With the growth of urban areas in recent years, the role of urban mobility has become increasingly important. Large volumes of traffic in urban areas produce increased congestion and exponentially growing economic externalities (e.g. congestion costs about 1% of the EU’s GDP each year), social externalities (e.g. 69% of traffic accidents take place in cities) and environmental externalities (e.g. 25% of CO2 emissions in cities are caused by transportation, also traffic-related air pollution has been identified as a public health priority in Europe), which are considered key elements leading to the degradation of the quality of life in cities (Transportation White Paper, 2011).
In this line, the actions financed by the EU in research and innovation have been focused on the development of new strategies for urban mobility that aim at reducing these externalities (TRIP, 2013). The current EU Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020, poses among urban mobility-related objectives, the following priorities:
- Getting a seamless transport system to achieve a better mobility, less congestion and increased safety.
- Getting new developments to halve the use of combustion vehicles, promoting non-motorized and public transport travel.
From a technical point of view, to achieve the policy objectives of the EU on urban mobility there is a need of improved ways to balance demand while maintaining the actual capacity of the transport system. Therefore mobility management and integrated planning should be desirable policy objectives (ECTRI, 2011).
Today's cities are characterized by more diffuse patterns of mobility, with longer travel distances, increased multimodality, and a continued growth of the level of motorization (e.g. positive growth rates 2008-2013 in all EU countries. Eurostat 2015). Also the profile of the user is changing, with increasing modal offer and available information not only time savings are important for the users, but also comfort, safety and travel time reliability become important, and therefore they should be given greater emphasis in transport policy and performance management.
Today, the Smart Cities are presented as a solution to achieve a more sustainable urban development while increasing the quality of life of their citizens through the use of new technologies (Neirotti, 2013). Smart Mobility is based on innovative and sustainable ways to provide transport for the inhabitants of cities, enhancing the use of fuels or vehicle propulsion systems that respect the environment, supported by technological tools and a proactive behaviour of citizenship (Neirotti, 2013). In urban transport, the purpose of the Smart Cities is to develop flexible information systems in real time to support decision-making in the use and operation of different modes of transport generating a positive impact, saving users time and improving efficiency and service quality.
Final Master Thesis Guillermo Velázquez
In this context, several solution types are being introduced in the world’s cities. One of the most extended being the use of mobile apps for providing the user with contextualized static and real time transport information. They enable the improvement of the abovementioned factors acting on the demand side resulting in more efficient journeys for individual travellers, and improved satisfaction with the service. (Skelley et Al., 2013) with a lower level of investment than that of infrastructure deployment or an increase in the level of service.
This study aims to be a first step in the analysis of Madrid’s public transport user’s requests for a public transportation app and of their willingness to pay for such a service. The results complete with a case study the literature on which capabilities are the most required, and sets the ground for an estimation of the utility of transportation mobile applications for the users of a public transportation network.
The study is based on a survey that was conducted among PT users in Madrid, containing items that asked about their travel behaviour, their degree of technological skills and capabilities, as well as their main expectations on the possibility of using a new app and their main desired capabilities. In the same manner and with a more commercial approach an inquiry on their willingness to pay was included.
The paper is organized as follows. First, a brief review is provided on the state of the art on multimodality in transportation, Smart Mobility, mobile transportation applications and the latest research regarding app features and willingness to pay of the users. Then, section 3 contains a description of the applied methodology for the survey and the data collection process, as well as on the techniques of statistical analysis that have been used for the development of this paper. Then, section 4 details the case study of Madrid. Finally, results and conclusions extracted from the research are shown in section 5, along with some recommendations for the development of this kind of apps, and future lines of research.
  • Universidad Politécnica
  • ETSI arquitectura
  • ETSI Industriales