Note that the COAST concept does not entirely denigrate the bus or train to an outdated form of transport.
Fixed public transport routes could still be the most efficient manner of travel along key arteries and within
heavily populated metropolitan areas. Larger vehicles such as buses could also use the COAST concept when
circumstances are appropriate such as when transporting larger numbers of passengers into metropolitan areas
see figure 30) or large public meetings such as football matches for example. However, in these cases the
vehicle would pick up integral groups rather than individuals using variable embarkation points chosen at
strategically located points to minimise the net distance from their homes or destination. Whilst COAST would
probably be most effective in areas of moderate population density it also offers a more viable public transport
system for rural areas were conventional public transport is not financially viable and requires large subsidies.
It is important to emphasise the differences between COAST and the other FTS systems which have been
mentioned. So called FTS systems have focussed on using a fixed number of dedicated pubic transport vehicles
or taxis. Whilst these represent a substantial improvement over conventional public transport systems, these
could never transport passengers in a time competitive manner and efficient manner as COAST due to the large
variations in travel demand at different times of day. Moreover, Taxis and FTS systems are usually run by small
competing organisations that would be unable to offer the efficiencies and economies of scale by the ability to
re-route any suitable vehicle in the location.
The COAST concept provides a viable alternative to conventional public transport systems and could actually
be more advantageous in many situations relative to the private car journey. In addition to providing a useful
public transport service, it would reduce traffic congestion, provide benefits in reducing greenhouse gas
emissions and improving in air quality due to the reduced vehicle emissions.
Summary: advantages of COAST
passengers get a flexible, door to door, rapid response public transport service due to the large number of
the number of drivers available at any one time varies in proportion to demand, unlike FTS and taxi systems
the service is cheap since the passengers share the cost
drivers are paid for undertaking their own journey
the number of vehicles on the road are reduced
COAST raises the journey utilisation in terms of passengers carried, thereby reducing fuel, CO2 emissions
and regulated emissions per person transported
COAST can be integrated with other services such as supermarket and postal deliveries improving these
COAST offers a viable transport alternative thereby justifying the associated use of dedicated lanes and
variable road pricing