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Integration of public transport services: the case of Istanbul

Gür, Aslıhan
One of the most important policy and action areas in urban transport planning is the improvement of public transport with a view to increase its usage. Public transport is the most effective way of meeting increasing mobility needs in urban areas. It can provide long-distance journeys that may be difficult to travel via walking and biking. In the face of increasing car usage, it also ensures the most efficient use of space (i.e. transport infrastructure) and hence can help relieve congestion, which is a consequence of increased car usage. Transporting people with public transport, as opposed to cars, also results in lower levels of energy consumption and emissions; and consequently public transport also plays an important role in climate action plans and in achieving such policies as environmentally-friendly, clean, green, energy-efficient, and lower-cost (in terms of space and energy consumption) urban transport systems. Public transport is also a means of providing equal access opportunities to the society, since not everyone can be expected to travel with the car. As a result, for environmentally, economically and socially sustainable urban transport systems, public transport is a fundamental component. Public transport often constitutes a variety of different systems and services; and policies to improve public transport systems bring along a multi-modal system, which consists of various different public transport modes. This improvement also brings along the need for integrated systems. Public transport integration is both a necessity and a key for attracting travelers. Public transport integration has various levels and perspectives that are line/route integration, tariff/ticketing integration, information integration and schedule/headway integration. Integration criteria that are examined in the study are based on literature and three best practice cases from the world. These cases are Singapore, London and Toronto. As a case study, this study assesses public transportation integration in Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul has a diversity of transit modes, high daily passenger numbers, high population and a high level of mobility. Moreover, maritime transport and diversity of rail transportation (metro, tramway, funicular, streetcar, Marmaray etc.) make Istanbul a good case to investigate the integration of public transportation to compare it with good practice cases. Five transfer stations (Şişli-Mecidiyeköy, Zeytinburnu, Yenikapı, Aksaray-Yusufpaşa, Kadıköy) in Istanbul are investigated in-depth in terms of public transport integration. The aim of the study is to present Istanbul’s situation regarding public transport integration. By doing so, both inadequacies/weaknesses and potentials/possibilities to achieve an integrated public transport system in Istanbul could be investigated and assessed. The findings of the study enlighten the framework of an integrated public transport system, but by taking the locality into account. The study investigates integration components specific to Istanbul and also some transfer stations in Istanbul are analyzed in depth. The study can provide recommendations for future system map, information tools, fare policies and schedule arrangements as well as for achieving the whole system integration.