How to Tell Bus Passengers What They Need to Know
VANCE C and BALCOIVIBE R J, Transport Research Laboratory, UK
While it is generally acknowledged that good passenger information is an essential part of any strategy to promote public transport use, it is difficult to determine which methods, or combinations of methods of information provision are most effective, an
While it is generally acknowledged that good passenger information is an essential part of any strategy to promote public transport use, it is difficult to determine which methods, or combinations of methods of information provision are most effective, and what resources should be allocated to passenger information.
Two factors have stimulated renewed debate on the issue in recent years. The first is deregulation and restructuring of the bus industry, which, in itself, caused many changes in bus services in 1986, with an unprecedented rate of change ever since, generating the need for much more bus information than before. The problem of information provision was compounded by the redistribution of responsibility between operators and local authorities, and competition between operators, which often prevented publication of comprehensive information. The second factor is the rapid development of technology, which provides new techniques for generating, handling and distributing information. Investment in new technology is an easy method of increasing passenger information expenditure, but it is more difficutt to establish what forms of investment are likely to be cost effective, and whether they offer real advantages over more conventional methods.
The purpose of this research has therefore been to review the current state of information provision and to investigate ways in which current practice may be improved. Our main concern was to try to discover how important bus information is to people, whether existing methods of providing it are adequate, and, if not, how they might be improved or supplemented with new methods, and what might be the effects on public transport use.
For these purposes we adopted a two-stage approach. The first stage consisted of surveys of bus users in a number of study areas, examining attitudes and use of passenger information and identifying deficiencies. This led to the conceptual development of a range of alternative methods of information provision, involving different levels of cost. The second stage consisted of testing these ideas on members of the public in the same study areas as the first stage, and comparing them with existing arrangements. The detailed design of the surveys, their execution and the development of alternative forms of information were sub-contracted to Transport and Travel Research Ltd.
Association for European Transport