This paper was submitted to the Chartered Institute of Transport in 1981 and received the BET road passenger transport award for that year. It is reproduced here by kind permission of the institute, in whom the copyright subsists. The paper is a tentative approach to the extension of transport studies into the field of the behavioural sciences, which, it is argued, is necessary if a paradigm of the transport industry is to be constructed which has serious predictive capacity. After a brief introduction, Part 2 addresses itself to the reality of need, as distinct from effective demand, as an origin of that motivation which may or may not give rise to the provision of transport services to secure its satisfaction. It recognises that, even after the market mechanisms have had full and unfettered play in residual need that, if it is left unsatisfied, may be a net disbenefit to a society that can apply its resources to it by transfer. Part 3 discusses the extent to which the free working of the market mechanisms may be inhibited, on the argument that there is no merit in approaching the problems of satisfying residual need until all possible steps have been taken to minimise it. It is recognised that the market within which transport is supplied and consumed is not and cannot be perfect, but that considerable possibilities exist for obviating its most serious imperfections. These are discussed under the headings: 1. Elasticities of demand; 2. In-elasticity of supply; 3. Institutional rigidities; 4. Organisational rigidities; 5. Technical rigidities; 6. Insufficient information; 7. Cross-subsidisation. In part 4 an approach is made to the nature of the residual need that might exist were all these imperfections to be minimised. The need for further work in this area is emphasised. In part 5, headed "how to do good", a number of approaches to the satisfaction of residual need by way of transfer payment are considered, with their strengths and weaknesses, and starting from the assumption that internal cross-subsidisation is not an accceptable practice. The techniques considered are; 1. Deficit financing; 2. The payment of subventions to ensure the continuance of services which a commercial undertaking would otherwise withdraw (advocated in the United Kingdom by the Low committee's report of 1960): 3. The contractor/client relationship. Special attention is paid to the distortions that any form of intervention may produce, and it is concluded that some form of "fine tuning" is required, rather than across-the-board subvention. Finally part 6 concludes with some thoughts as to the place of professional transport managers in the situation that has been examined, and the paper closes with a plea for further work to be done towards the definition of a general theory of need. It places great stress upon the desirability of involving the public transport industry in the debates about this process. (Author/TRRL)

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Proceedings of Seminar P held at the PTRC 10th Summer Annual Meeting, University of Warwick, England.
  • Corporate Authors:

    PTRC Education and Research Services Limited

    110 Strand
    London WC2,   England 
  • Authors:
    • HIBBS, J
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 1983

Media Info

  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: p. 1-17

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00381607
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • ISBN: 0-86050-112-4
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Volume P240
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 30 1984 12:00AM