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Levels of service and ridership in Greater Tel Aviv, Israel: a GIS study using open data with policy suggestions
Travel patterns in Israel and in Greater Tel Aviv (GTA), in particular, are car-dominated. This is due to several societal and governmental factors that have shaped such patterns over the years; Nowadays, Israel suffers from heavy congestion, that harms economic development and peoples welfare. Currently, policymakers are developing strategic plans for mass transport solutions in Greater Tel Aviv, including, a light rail and a metro system. By offering improved services, transport planners aspire to attract new passengers and establish new travel behaviour among local residents. Yet, it is still worth analysing the existing transit services and their level of service (LoS) to understand their influence on travel patterns. Therefore, this study aimed to analyse the level of service in GTA, and discuss its influence on transit ridership. The study followed an LoS ranking methodology developed by the Poelman and Dijkstra (2015), which classifies the objective levels of service of urban centres using open data and census data. Analysis findings suggest that over 88% of GTA urban centres residents in GTA are accessible to high frequencies on weekdays. This is considered high levels of service in comparison to other, previously studied cities. Next, the influence of the analysed LoS on ridership is analysed using Azjen Theory of Planned Behaviour (1991) as an analytical framework. Possible reasons for low transit ridership are discussed, including the role of simple network structure, social norms and marketing. Therefore, this paper argues that while high levels of service are required to make people use transit, they are not satisfactory. Last, different approaches for making transit promoting interventions are discussed. A context-specific policy is suggested- to operate the future metro lines and BRT, which could start generating demands, simplify transit use and raise attitudes.

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