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“NODES” project allows users to rate and improve their interchanges


A newly developed online tool allows users to compare and rate their multimodal transport interchanges (stations and stops serving more than one transport mode); the new benchmarking tool was created under the auspices of the EU-funded NODES project, which finishes in Brussels on 22 September 2015.
What would intermodality ideally look like in 2020? And what will be the role of intermodal interchanges then? These are some of the questions that have been discussed in the framework of the research project NODES (New Tools for Design and Operation of Urban Transport Interchanges).
For 3 years, NODES has developed a Toolbox to allow practitioners (public authorities, public transport operators, infrastructure managers…) to assess their public transport interchanges and to improve their performance. As interchanges play a key role in the integration of the urban mobility system and in enabling good intermodal solutions, their efficiency is essential to achieving sustainable transport objectives.
Now, on the eve of this project’s close – the final conference of the project will take place in Brussels on 22 September – what are the main outcomes that can be expected?
Measuring the performance of a transport interchange
The first steps of the project consisted of defining the future user needs and system requirements. Key performance indicators have been identified to enable practitioners to better understand the performance of their transport interchange. These indicators were worked on in order to develop the so called “NODES Benchmark tool” which will be unveiled at the project’s final conference. With this online tool, the practitioners just have to enter the main figures of their interchange and answer specific questions to be provided with a performance evaluation of their interchange. 
Improving performance thanks to the NODES Toolbox
Once a practitioner obtains the strong and weak points of his interchange, they are pointed towards the NODES Toolbox, a list of tools (software, methods, techniques, models, regulations, materials) that will allow them to improve its performance. The final NODES Toolbox will also be unveiled at the final conference.
The indicators as well as the tools cover the five key areas related to transport interchanges:

  • Strategies for integrated land use planning with urban passenger infrastructure planning
  • Innovative approaches relating to the design of efficient transport interchanges
  • Intermodal operations and information provision
  • Management and business models (the interchange as a business case for the local economy and itself)
  • Energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly interchanges

In order to validate the efficiency of the tools that were identified, they were tested in nine reference sites distributed around Europe.
Examples of NODES tools
In Madrid, the Consorcio Regional de Transportes de Madrid (CRTM) developed an Interchange Typology Diagrammatic Representation which aims to identify the design stakes and facility requirements in an interchange. This diagram simply displays each transport mode’s importance (demand level) and accessibility at an interchange. It thereby becomes easy to compare interchanges, but also simply to better understand an interchange thanks to a visual representation.
Another example of NODES tool is the “Station Experience Monitor” which was developed by the Dutch partner Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) and helps station designers not to stop at functionality and to look into passenger stations experience. It was found that often very simple low cost interventions can already have a large impact on the waiting and travel experiences of the interchange users.
To find out more
NODES is a three-year collaborative European research project co-funded by the Seventh Framework Programme. Coordinated by UITP, it brings together 17 partners representing local government administrations, public transport operators, as well as research centres and European associations.
To find out more about the results of this project, join us at the NODES Final Conference that will take place in Brussels on 22 September 2015. Participation is free of charge but registration is compulsory. For more information contact Caroline Hoogendoorn or You can also follow us on twitter @transportnodes and facebook