Demand for transportation is termed as derived demand. People use transport services are primarily consuming the service not because of its direct benefits, but because they wish to access other services. For example, work-related activities commonly involve commuting between the place of residence and the workplace. There is a supply of labour at one location (residence) and a demand of labour at another (workplace), transport (commuting) being directly derived from this relationship, hence a derived demand. The demand for transportation is shaped by many factors affecting the need for transportation which is changing at unprecedented pace. The demand for transportation largely depends upon the need (Work, trade, education, tourism, social etc) that is being satisfied by transportation. For instance, after advent of ATMs, the need to visit banks has almost vanished after large scale installation of ATMs, online banking and digital transactions.
Demand for transport is witnessing unanticipated decline. The factors such as large scale urbanisation, increasing economic activities, improvements in modes of transportations etc have resulted in sustained growth of travel demand over hundreds of years till late 20th century. The possibility of decline in travel demand was never foreseen by the transport planners. However, the unforeseen has already started happening before our eyes. As per ‘The first report of Commission on Travel Demand, May 2018, UK’ – “We travel substantially less today, per head of population, than we did one or two decades ago. We make 16% fewer trips than 1996, travel 10% fewer miles than in 2002 and spend 22 hours less travelling than we did a decade ago.” This unexpected decline in demand for transportation is driven by alternatives offered by emerging technologies which are undermining the very need of transportation.
Alternatives- New Paradigm in transportation demand
Demand for travel being derived demand can be easily impacted if purpose for travel demand or driver for travel demand can be accessed by some alternate means. Recent technological developments have thrown open many possibilities which may replace demand for travel by some suitable alternative.
In his article on “Future of Transportation Demand” Dr. Amit Kumar Jain (Senior Divisional Operations Manager, Delhi, Ministry of Railways, Government of India) has thrown a light on how the demand for transportation is going down in some parts of the world, how the alternatives would have profound impact on future of demand for transportation and which are the factors which will impact travel demand in future