The UK Government's White Paper on the Future of Transport states its commitment to the creation of a better, more integrated transport system that will increase modal choice by improving public transport and will also provide sustainable mobility for all. Real Time Passenger Information (RTPI) is a way of providing the users of public transport 'real time' travel information from a variety of sources, including bus stops, stations, via telephone or Internet and on vehicles themselves. It is believed that Real Time Passenger Information Systems have the potential to bring a wide range of benefits to bus passengers, bus operators and Local Transport Authorities.
The aim of the study was to determine whether there was likely to be a business case for introducing more bus Real Time Passenger Information systems.
To establish whether there was a business case, an extensive literature review was carried out, referencing in excess of fifty texts. The review of literature extended to also include news items and articles from journals. Interviews were also carried out with key players in the public transport industry, including seventeen bus operators and twenty local authorities/PTEs.
The review of evidence revealed a considerable number of research reports and other sources of information relevant to this study. The body of evidence was presented in a series of summary tables for each recipient of potential benefits, including bus passengers, operators, and Local Transport Authorities. However, it has been generally found that robust quantitative investigations into the effects of the implementation of a real-time passenger information system are rare. Statements supporting this finding were identified through out this document. It was revealed in the review that a number of impacts were incurred across the range of recipients.
• Savings on journey times;
• Improved regularity of service; and
• Improved reliability of service.
For a thorough business case to be made it is therefore essential that further research is carried out to justify in depth the impacts of RTI for the various recipients. In order to assist with this prioritisation, the study team has devised a priority search mechanism which analyses the recipient summary tables for further research requirements that would deliver maximum benefit to the business case. To do this the search focuses upon the impacts which have the highest scale but which have a requirement for further evidence, or in some cases no evidence at all.
This project lists measures which would improve information available to transport users and operators. The study identified two key priority areas for further consideration including:
Examination of the impact on the regularity and reliability of services. This would include the management of scheduling and avoidance of penalties from the Traffic Commissioners.
Examination of the generation of new passenger trips through the provision of RTPI, including the impact on customer satisfaction, passenger pre planning activity and passenger diversionary activity
Both of these and other proposed areas of research outlined within the report should determine in more detail key areas of concern for the business case for the recipients of RTPI.