Determinants of urban public transport efficiency: case study of the Czech Republic

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Year of publication 2018
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source European Transport Research Review
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Economics and Administration

Keywords Czech Republic DEA Efficiency Public transport Tobit regression
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Description Purpose The aim of this paper is to identify the factors influencing efficiency of urban public transport (UPT) systems and to benchmark Czech UPT systems according to their efficiency. Methods The analysis was carried out on a sample of 19 UPT systems in the Czech Republic during 2010–2015. Efficiency was evaluated through a two-stage analysis. Data envelopment analysis (DEA) was used in the first stage. It was based on three inputs (employees, rolling stock and energy) and one output (passengers). DEA efficiency scores were computed for all 19 systems for each year and under two different assumptions regarding returns to scale. In the second stage of the analysis, DEA scores were used in Tobit regression with a set of operational, socio-economic, and demographic explanatory variables in order to find determinants of efficiency. Results Several variables were identified as factors increasing efficiency - proportion of drivers, average vehicle age, the presence of tramlines in the city, total vehicle kilometres, and population density. Some variables were identified as decreasing efficiency – ticket price, proportion of subsidies in revenues, and presence of a two-city system. Czech cities with most efficient transport systems were Prague, Brno, Mariánské Lázně, Olomouc, and Pilsen. The least efficient cities were Chomutov–Jirkov, Ostrava, and Děčín. Conclusions The principal lesson from this study is that bigger cities with greater population densities are more efficient than smaller cities, and the key efficiency factors that local authorities have under their control are the ticket price, rate of subsidies, and structure of the city transport system. The paper contributes to current debate about the efficiency of the urban transport systems and their determinants. There was not much difference between the constant and variable returns to scale results. The results from the second stage could help policy makers make the public transport systems more efficient. Future research could be devoted to gaining data on additional operators which would also enable using additional inputs and outputs for DEA analysis.
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