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Making Reliability Part of Transport Policy

Most of us face unreliable travel services in our daily lives. Unexpected delays make us miss a train or arrive late for work. Whether for business meetings, social events or deliveries of goods, reliability is a key quality of seamless transport. A review of policies in OECD countries shows, however, that only few countries explicitly incorporate reliability into transport policy making. Research at the International Transport Forum at the OECD shows that:

  • A wide range of instruments is available to manage reliability and the policy framework proposed distils these into four principal options (Provision, Information, Management, Pricing); 
  • In order to deliver the most cost-effective reliability option, reliability should be incorporated into cost-benefit assessments; 
  • Reliability targets need to be applied with caution; 
  • Unreliability of transport constitutes a significant cost; 
  • Reliability is highly case-specific but improving reliability adds anything between 10% to doubling the project benefits.
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