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Title: Public attitudes to long distance travel and perceptions of high speed rail
Authors: Caygill, Matthew
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: Predicted increasing demand for long-distance travel raises the potential for considerable capacity impacts on the existing transport network. HS2, a proposed high speed rail (HSR) line in Britain bypassing existing routes, is being advanced by Government and might impact on mode choice and planned travel behaviour. Given predicted increasing long-distance travel demand, improving understanding of the underlying attitudinal, perceptual and behavioural issues is important. This thesis investigates attitudes to long-distance travel, perceptions of HSR, and willingness-to-pay for travel time reductions by determining the effects of social characteristics. Following focus groups to examine the wider domain of long-distance travel and mode choice, a questionnaire was developed to measure attitudes to long-distance travel and perceptions of HSR. A Principal Components Analysis of 46 travel-related attitude items generated six attitude factors, relating to; travel security, unsustainable transport improvements, perceived prestige of HSR, negative attitudes to HSR, importance of travel comfort, and travel time use. Attitudes differed by demographics and travel behaviour, implying focus is needed on younger age groups to attract travellers to HSR unless development timescales can be reduced. Proximity to a proposed HS2 station had no impact on attitudes, although proximity to the route was predictive of negative attitudes (the only aspect that was a predictor of negative attitudes to HSR). Factors such as cost, the environment, comfort and convenience are discussed in light of theories of attitudes, cognitive and affective reasoning and mode choice. Willingness-to-pay for travel time savings under two trip scenarios revealed a valuation broadly similar to that used in the HS2 economic case for commuters and leisure trips, but substantially lower than that used for business travel.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences

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