3668 Sustainable mobility by buses – consequences of public procurement of today

Helene Lidestam , Management of Management and Engineering, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
Full Papers
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  • Justification of the paper:

    The tendering process for competitive bus transports has been used since 1985 in England and thereafter used in several European countries. The most common method for selecting the winning bid in a public tendering process is to select the bid with the lowest price. In order to guarantee a certain quality the authority often specifies a number of minimum requirements that the bidders must meet to have a chance to win the bidding. The process of choosing the best bid is easier if the demands of the qualifications are well specified and detailed. On the other hand, detailed contracts can force the entrepreneurs to use less environmentally friendly and uneconomical alternatives.

    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate environmental effects of using less specified contracts regarding bus sizes in public bus transports. A mathematical model with binary variables is developed to evaluate the environmental effects of more optimized bus sizes. Data from two different areas in Sweden has been collected, compared, and evaluated in terms of levels of CO2 emissions. A pilot study on one of the areas, created by a Swedish bus transport company, in order to test the possibility to use taxis instead of large buses on some lines, is presented.

    Theoretical framework:

    A number of nations has converted their public transport systems from monopoly transit systems to competitive tendering. An overview of the general competition for public transports in the world is presented in Cox and Duthion (2001). A first study on the environmental effects of using less detailed contracts in one region in Sweden has been presented by Lidestam and Abrahamsson (2010).


    The results of the model indicate that the emissions decrease considerably by using less detailed contracts regarding bus sizes. A mathematical model and data from a Swedish bus service provider are used to evaluate the effects of using less detailed contracts in the public procurement of bus transports.The results of the mathematical model indicate that all parts involved in the public procurement process, the public authority, the entrepreneur and the customers, will gain from more flexible and less detailed contracts. This is also confirmed by the pilot study from the bus transport company.


    The process of choosing the best bid in the public procurement process will be more complicated when the contracts are less detailed compared to current situations. Indeed, using less detailed contracts leads to more sustainable bus transports.


    Cox W., and Duthion B., Competition in urban public transport- a world view, 7 th International Conference on Competition and Ownership in Land Passenger Transport, Thredbo 7 Molde, Norway, 2001.

    Lidestam H., and Abrahamsson M., Mathematical modeling for evaluation of public procurement for bus transports in terms of emissions, Management of Environmental Quality 5(3) (2010) 645-658.