From Low Fares to No Fares: An Analysis of Economic, Operational, Socio-Spatial and Political Dynamics of Fare-Free Public Transport

Project Details


The proposed project focuses on the policy of abolishing fares in
public transport (PT) systems, otherwise known as fare-free public
transport (FFPT). Although FFPT has become an established
practice, discussed and implemented by policy-makers across
Europe, it remains largely controversial and under-researched. The
main objective of the project is therefore to understand both
transport-related (economic, operational) and urban (social, spatial
and political) aspects of FFPT. The project builds on three research
strategies, each involving both qualitative and quantitative methods .

First, to unpack economic and operational dimension of FFPT (i.e. to
understand how much fare abolition costs, and how it works), a
global survey will be conducted, providing the most comprehensive
analysis of the policy to date.

Second, the particular cases of Luxembourg and Dunkirk will be studied. Multisource user surveys and in-depth interviews will be conducted to investigate how fare
abolition affects travel behaviour, lifestyle and well-being across
diverse socio-economic groups. Local stakeholder, political bodies,
electoral programmes and media will be analysed to unpack the
spatial and political impact of FFPT, across institutions and
administrative boundaries. Third, together with expert focus groups,
the project team will build on insights from Dunkirk and Luxembourg
to project and analyse scenarios for potential fare abolition in
Effective start/end date1/11/2031/01/24


  • fare-free public transport
  • transport policy
  • urban policy

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Social geography
  • Economic geography
  • Political geography
  • Geography of mobility and transportation
  • Urban and regional geography


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