Changing starting and end times of certain city services to balance demand

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Changing starting and end times of certain city services to balance demand

EPOMM (2017a), 9_Flexible working hours, European Platform on Mobility Management, retrieved on 15th of May 2017 from:

EPOMM (2017b), Reorganisation of PT schedules, European Platform on Mobility Management, retrieved on 15th of May 2017 from: retrieved on 15th of May 2017 from:

KonSULT (2016), Flexible Working Hours, retrieved on 15th of May 2017 from:

NSTPRSC (2007), Potential Impacts of Flexible Work Schedules on Passenger Travel Demand (webpage), Commission Briefing Paper 4H-02, Section 1909 Commission Staff, National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission, retrieved on 10.06.2017, from:

The cooperation between the main traffic generators (e.g. malls, Universities, public administration buildings, business parks, big companies with many employees, etc.) and the Public Transport Authority (or operators) is required from the very beginning of the planning process, especially when the operation of a new building is launched. The parallel reorganisation of the Public Transport schedules/timetables could enhance the effectiveness of the solution (EPOMM, 2017b). The solution is more appropriate for working cases in which rigid employee schedules are not required (EPOMM, 2017a).

The cost of the solution can be considered as rather low as it is a matter mainly related to an organisational change. The responsibilities that are related to the administration and management are expected to be increased (EPOMM, 2017a). In fact, the balanced allocation of demand (passengers’ trips) over the day can lessen the burden of the system, limiting the need for higher number of employees, improving the efficiency (e.g. lower waiting time for the boarding and the disembarkation), and limiting the possible damages caused by the overcrowded vehicles, reducing subsequently the maintenance costs. In some cases, the change of working or education hours could be combined with monetary motives, e.g. flexible ticket pricing in terms of time: reduced price for non-peak hours.

In order to reduce the pressure on the public transport system in peak hours, the change of starting/opening and end time of certain activities (e.g. working hours, school lessons of students and pupils, university lectures, operation of market stores, public offices opening, etc.). In this way, less vehicles would be necessary in the peak hours, which would otherwise be unutilized overcapacity during the day. Expected results are cost reduction, traffic congestion reduction in peak hours and higher comfort in existing Public Transport vehicles.

This solution introduces the flexibility in the daily schedules for certain activities that generate demand for transport services (e.g. work, education, etc.) (EPOMM, 2017a). It could also be combined with a reorganisation/re-engineering of the operations and practices of bodies, reducing the need to travel (e.g. introduction of tele-working for a number of days per month towards the reduction of energy cost of the businesses).

The flexibility in the working hours cannot be adopted in any kind of job and in all cases, as there are also personal reasons that may discourage people from following it (e.g. match with the schedules of other family members, etc.) (EPOMM, 2017a). The mutual agreement of both the employee and the employer is necessary for the successful implementation of the concept. Examples of the application of this solution include (i) changing the opening, working or appointment hours, (ii) working intensively for some days (compressed working weeks with longer working time per day), (iii) adapting the treatment of patient at hospitals, (iv) reforming the administrative procedures related to the citizens that are applied by the government (e.g. issuing of birth certificate, etc.), (KonSULT, 2016).

The solution aims to contribute in traffic congestion reduction in peak periods, travel time reduction for the employees, travel satisfaction increase that could result in higher productivity. The mobility pattern of the travellers is adjusted to better suit Public Transport system’s capacity. There no recent examples of this solution implemented in isolation to tackle congestion (KonSULT, 2016).

Service models, organization and management
General concept
  • Large urban area
  • Metropolitan areas

Goal-oriented/efficient organization
  • Adaptiveness to evolving markets and customer needs
  • Better experience
  • Improve punctuality and reliability
  • Improve travelling time
  • Improving customer orientation
  • Increase promotion
  • Performance orientation

  • Flexible economy
  • Transforming household
  • Urban governance
  • Urban sprawl
  • Urbanization

Flexible time-schedules at work or other activities (e.g. education) can ease ridesharing enabling the matching of schedules, cycling in non-peak time periods and public transport use allowing to fit in with timetables. The solution can be introduced as part of a company travel/mobility plan, (KonSULT, 2016). There are no financial or technological requirements for their implementation. According to the literature, there is also some evidence of a long term trend that some people may arrive as car drivers at their office (KonSULT, 2016). Thus, it could be claimed that when the aim is the shifting of travellers from private cars to Public Transport, the solution should be combined with complementary actions so that the impact can be increased and ensured.

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