A sustainable and equitable society requires a reliable and attractive public transport system. Nonetheless, all over Europe many cities are facing similar problems:
- the city centres are less attractive than external shopping centres;
- the urban population suffer from ever-increasing car traffic and resulting environmental problems;
- public transport (especially in small and medium-sized cities) is affected by steadily decreasing numbers of passengers.
Developments in the transport sector in the past years have been such that it is uncertain if today's public transport system can live up to the requirements of sustainability and equity. Nevertheless, there are examples of positive results that have been reached through customer-oriented transport and marketing measures.
The PROCEED project addresses the research domain 'High quality Public Transport' of the objective 1 'New technologies and concepts for all surface transport modes (road, rail and waterborne' of the Work Programme of the thematic Priority 1.6.2 'Sustainable Surface Transport'.
The project will give a better understanding of the key factors that influence public transport, as well as how the position of public transport in the transport system can be strengthened so that its market share can increase.
The project objective will conduct research on public transport operations in small and medium-sized cities in order to understand how to improve its efficiency, effectiveness and attractiveness to the users.
The main aim of the project is to design a planning tool that can be used to develop successful public transport, mainly by bus, in small and medium-sized European cities with a population between 25 000 and 250 000 inhabitants.
PROCEED will tackle the challenges and lead to an improved expertise and an extended knowledge-base, that on the one hand will help to develop, implement and assess European policy, and on the other will help to plan, develop and implement effective and efficient public transport (bus) systems, contributing to the European framework conditions supporting modal shift away from individual motorised traffic towards sustainable transport modes.
The work within PROCEED is divided into three parts:
- Analysis. In this phase, data on success factors and pitfalls from public transport operators all around Europe will be collected. The analysis will be carried out from the market (user needs, factors to influence people's choice, common European trends, marketing effects, etc.) and product sides (PT system infrastructure, financial issues, trends and mobility needs, strategies for customer relation management, etc.). The project will analyse three cities in each EU member state.
- Synthesis. Based on the data collected in the previous phase and on the findings of other related research projects, and considering future trends and changes in European society and legislation, the project will produce a vision of the long term future of bus services in small and medium sized cities. This will lead to a better understanding of the costs and benefits of improving the image, improving reliability and speed and improving comfort. Thus, the project will develop guidelines covering the following issues:
- methods for analysing the market side of High Quality Public Transport (HQPT)
- development & upgrade network and infrastructure of HQPT
- financing of HQPT
- managing of HQPT
- marketing strategies for HQPT.
- Verification. During this phase adequacy and usefulness of the guidelines will be controlled and verified with stakeholders in different parts of Europe. A total of eight public transport operators have sub-contracted and they will form a strategic reference group to evaluate the practical usefulness and comprehensiveness of the guidelines.
All findings of these three phases will be synthesised to produce 'Public Transport Guidelines for Europe' which will include detailed data and trends as well as methodologies to investigate local needs and expectations, as well as the best practices identified all over Europe.
The PROCEED project has produced a set of Guidelines that will support planning, developing and implementing effective and efficient public transport systems by bus in small and medium-sized European cities.
This research work has improved the understanding of the main issues related to fundamental changes that local and regional public transport operations in most EU Member States are currently undergoing.
PROCEED has tackled the challenges and produced an improved expertise and an extended knowledge-base, that on the one hand will help to develop, implement and assess European policy, and on the other hand will help to plan, develop and implement better public transport (bus) systems.
The main result of the PROCEED project is the PROCEED Guideline Tool that has been designed to help decision makers and transport planners (e.g. public transport authorities, local authorities, transport operators, consultants, and research centres and universities) efficiently and effectively develop, upgrade, finance and manage urban bus systems and related mobility services. The PROCEED Guidelines Tool is accessible for free on the project’s website, in the English, French, German and Polish languages, both as an on-line tool or as a downloadable version.
The Guidelines cover the following main requirements and themes:
- The need to make a proper analysis of the local situation and the respective user needs - Guidelines on 'Methods for analysing the market side'
- The need to draw-up a network design that fits the local public transport demand - Guidelines on 'Developing and upgrading Network and Infrastructure'
- The need to ensure the financing of the system - Guidelines on 'Financing'
- The need to establish an efficient management of the system - Guidelines on 'Management'
- The need to carry out comprehensive marketing - Guidelines on 'Marketing strategies'.
PROCEED has also produced educational materials (PowerPoint presentation, written material) specially addressing on-going transport planners and decision makers. This study material is also available from the project's website.
PROCEED conducted research aiming to find out, how public transport operations can improve their attractiveness to the customers and at the same time improve their efficiency. The work was divided into three main parts: analysis, synthesis and verification.
The analysis of the current operations of bus services in various EU Member States and the consideration of findings in other related research projects has enabled PROCEED to take into account European-wide trends as well as local issues. PROCEED has produced a vision of the long term future of bus services in small and medium-sized cities.
This leads to a better understanding of the costs and benefits of
- Improving the image (marketing...)
- Improving reliability and speed (dedicated lanes, design to speed up boarding, information, etc)
- Improving comfort (access for all, integration, park & ride, etc...)
The 10 key recommendations from the project to planners and operators of public transport in small and medium cities are:
- Perform high quality PT in a package: The aim of high-quality public transport is to provide a service level that can compete with private car use (highly available, good comfort, etc.) in order to provide a real alternative to car users. For that reason, the service has to be 'good' in all fields because a short headway does not attract customers if the vehicles are of bad condition, or a high interweaved network with good transfer nodes does not score if delays often obstruct transfers, etc.
- HQ public transport needs supporting transport policy measures: The political decision to invest in a high-quality urban bus system should coincide with a clear overall vision of urban transport planning. A situation has to be avoided where high investment in public transport is thwarted by easy to use and even cheaper accessibility of the city centre by private car. The decision to 'pull' citizens into public transport by offering a high-level system should lead to further action in the management of parking spaces for private cars in order to 'push' citizens towards public transport use. To provide both (HQPT as well as free parking to a high degree) will contribute to a failure of the public transport investment.
- Aim for a secure and long-term financing: An urban bus system needs a secure financial background. Operating costs and investments have to be financed as a long-term process over several years. Con