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New research reveals how to put public transport on a par with cars

17 June 2011
New research from Campaign for Better Transport published today reveals how public transport could match the car when it comes to door to door journeys.

Door to door journeys, commissioned by the sustainable transport charity and carried out by TRL Ltd, discovered that, contrary to some professional and political opinion, there are innovative schemes up and down the country proving that public transport can in fact offer the same kind of door to door travel as cars can.

The research looked at what prevents people from making whole journeys by public transport and what passengers care about in order to make the following four key recommendations to better integrate public transport:

  • Information – give people information before and during their journeys by opening up data on timetabling and real time information about delays
  • Interchange – require station travel plans, which set out measures to make it easier to get to stations by foot, bike or bus, as part of rail franchises
  • Connections – ensure guaranteed connections between different rail and bus services, using recent rail and bus reviews and experience from other countries
  • Ticketing – have tickets that allow services to join up in a simple and transparent way and roll out Oyster-style smartcards with new zonal tickets

Campaign for Better Transport is calling on the Government and the public transport industry to introduce measures based on its recommendations that will put passengers at the heart of the transport system and encourage more journeys by public transport.


Stephen Joseph, Campaign for Better Transport’s chief executive, said: “There is now plenty of evidence of what works and what makes the difference for passengers. Coupled with new information and communication technology and the findings of the two recent reviews into the rail and bus industries, the Government has an unparalleled opportunity to turn the promise of seamless public transport journeys into a reality.”

The research discovered several areas of the country where the key elements to integrated transport already exist. For instance in Edinburgh the Edinbus smartphone app provides Lothian bus passengers with real time information on timetabling and walking routes to bus stops; in Tyne and Wear a smartcard already launched by Nexus called Pop will soon offer the opportunity to pay for bus and Metro rail journeys with one simple plastic card that can be read by machines in stations and vehicles; in Bicester a taxibus scheme run by Chiltern Railways takes train passengers from the station to surrounding villages for less than the cost of a car journey; and in Leeds CyclePoint offers bike storage, hire, repairs and sales from inside the city’s train station.

By working with transport operators and local councils, Campaign for Better Transport believes the Government could implement similar measures nationwide to ensure public transport is a viable alternative to the car.

Anton Valk, chief executive officer at Abellio who sponsored the research and are one of the partners of the Leeds CyclePoint, said: “We have been committed to providing a seamless travel experience to our customers across our operations for many years. Together with partners we launched CyclePoint at Leeds station last year. It is just one example of how we propose to deliver innovative solutions which will encourage customers to make more use of public transport facilities.”

The research is being presented to leading rail industry figures at The future of station development conference, which will examine current station policies, industry experience and opportunities for station development. Speakers include Steve Norris, Robin Groth from the Department for Transport and Mike Goggin from Network Rail. The conference is jointly sponsored by Campaign for Better Transport and Norton Rose with Stephen Joseph as co-chair.

Download a briefing and summary of Seamless journeys from door to door. For a copy of the full research, please contact the press office.

Any media interested in attending The future of station development conference should contact the press office.

Notes to Editors

1. Realising the Potential of GB Rail: Final Independent Report of the Rail Value for Money Study was commissioned jointly by the Department for Transport and the Office of Rail Regulation. The report puts forward a wide range of recommendations to deliver savings of between £700 million and £1 billion annually by 2019.

2. The Competition Commission is currently investigating the local bus market in the UK. The provisional findings report was published in May.

3. Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).

4. TRL Ltd is an internationally recognised centre of excellence providing world-class research, consultancy, testing and certification for all aspects of transport.

5. Abellio is an international public transport company which delivers rail and bus services to over 700,000 passengers every day across the UK, Germany and the Czech Republic.