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Measuring Demand for an Integrated Inter-Urban Public Transport Network

United Kingdom
United Kingdom Flag
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Network corridors
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Multimodal icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

There was concern that the institutional architecture of privatisation was not promoting strategic thought about the structure of services provided by the railway. The industry offered some financial support, a great deal of practical support and its endorsement of the proposed investigation. At the time the project was conceived a national timetable was not on the industry's agenda, even though it was a model commonplace in Europe. The consensus now is that the timetable-planning process introduced with privatisation appears to have failed, and the last few years have been a period of turbulence for many different reasons. The outcome has been renewed attention to timetabling, with Train Operating Companies becoming committed in principle to regular-interval services and the SRA playing a stronger role in achieving an integrated outcome.


The aim was to evaluate, with the aid of a cross-sectional demand model, "clean sheet" strategies for national and regional inter-urban networks, with particular reference to the proposition that a regular-interval, high-connectivity timetable could yield social, environmental and commercial benefits. The two measures of success were, firstly, development of a model capable of routinely estimating demand for travel by public transport between any pair of places or along any corridor, and secondly, a clear demonstration whether or not the policy-options under review should be adopted by Government and the public transport industry.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Department for Transport
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


The project outputs are:

1) identification and assessment of 'ideal' inter-urban public transport networks;

2) enhanced understanding of the determinants of the catchments of stations;

3) development and calibration of a fresh cross-sectional rail demand model; and

4) specification and evaluation of a national, regular-interval, coordinated timetable.

Policy implications

Various exercises within this project have demonstrated that there is no intrinsic reason why public transport in Britain cannot be operated on the same principles as the Swiss system. The model was used to forecast the change in patronage following recasting of the East Coast time table. It was found out that the introduction of a Taktfahrplan would increase rail traffic. The aggregate appraisal found that revenue and user benefits would amount to about £23 million. Given the low market share that rail holds on non-London routes the large benefits they would yield could have implications for the relative priority of projects in the context of the Government's environmental and social objectives.


Key Findings

The project contributes to knowledge in the following intermodal sub themes:<?xml:namespace prefix = o />

  • of intermodal modelling and planning

  • communication technologies and electronic data exchange, in particular use and integration of information and communication systems

  • quality of transport networks, especially interoperability between the different modes

  • terminal and transfer point efficiency

  • market orientated strategies and socio economic scenarios, especially the in identifying barriers and opportunities that operators face in using intermodal transport. 

Policy Implications


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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