Passengers getting on Ziudtangent BRT

Public Transport Planning

Public transport plays a key role in nearly all sustainable transport policies and strategies. Bus, tram and rail transport provides a means of mass transportation that minimises congestion and environmental impacts, while allowing people to make the essential journeys that modern lifestyles demand.  Public transport can also provide a lifeline to people living in rural areas or in remote communities who have limited or no access to car travel.

ITP has extensive experience of public transport planning, strategy development and service operation. This includes conventional bus operations, demand responsive transport, light rail transit, guided buses and bus-based rapid transit. Our advice and analyses have been used by both public and private sector client organisations, in the UK and internationally, to provide the best possible solutions to meet people’s travel needs.



  • User needs assessment
  • Vehicle technology evaluation
  • Alternative fuels advice
  • Feasibility assessment
  • Detailed corridor design
  • Business case development
  • Management and efficiency review
  • Public transport strategy development


Pushchair alighting park and ride bus


Project Examples

Northamptonshire Arc mass transit study - ITP was commissioned to explore and develop a high quality inter-urban transport system in Northamptonshire capable of meeting the growth aspirations of the county.  The work sat within the wider context of the Northamptonshire Arc, which is the council's vision for the county, and will inform the preparation of the statutory spatial plans - in particular the Core Strategies for North and West Northants.  The study involved the identification and appraisal of options for implementing a mass transit system between the major towns in the county, and the development of an overall delivery strategy and business case for implementing the first stage of the mass transit system by 2013/14.

Plymouth western corridor park and ride strategy – We were commissioned by Plymouth City Council to prepare a comprehensive strategy for the provision of a strategic park and ride service on Plymouth’s western corridor. This built upon previous work undertaken by ITP to develop an overarching strategic park and ride strategy for the city.  The study involved a review of potential sites, indicative site requirements, service characteristics, costs and revenues, subsidy levels, and impacts on existing public and private transport networks.

Cardiff Bus smartcard launch research - Cardiff Bus's ITSO smartcard launched in 2010 and provided customers with the opportunity for cashless transactions on the bus platform.  ITP was appointed by Cardiff Bus to ensure the success of the smartcard launch, with customer needs clearly identified and targeted through a series of focus groups with existing and potential new bus users.  Our work involved researching target markets and marketing channels, assessing response to the proposed marketing campaign and attitudes and expectations of smartcards from the customer perspective including ticketing options and discounts. The study included desktop research and key respondent interviews with providers of other smartcard schemes around the UK.

Brierley Hill public transport strategy - Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council commissioned ITP to prepare a public transport strategy for Brierley Hill.  This sets out an approach for long term enhancement to the public transport network to facilitate growth in accordance with the Brierley Hill Area Action Plan. The strategy builds upon the wider framework already established for the long term growth of public transport, with a particular emphasis on understanding the internal connectivity of the Brierley Hill area, and its associated interface with the wider bus network.

Noosa public transport strategy and transit centre- ITP was engaged by Noosa Council to undertake a comprehensive study to develop a public transport strategy for Noosa, a popular coastal town on the Sunshine Coast of Queensland. This involved demand forecasting and assessment of a wide range of issues including types of services (fixed and demand responsive), marketing and branding, information systems and provision, payment systems (including smart cards), customer focus and infrastructure. Our recommended strategy was highly commended by the client.  As a follow-on, we were then commissioned to build on the overall strategy to develop a design for a new Transit Centre (interchange) that would serve future needs and fit well with the local “Noosa Culture”.

Bus interchange study, Lagos, Nigeria - ITP was commissioned by Lagos Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (LAMATA) to develop an integrated public transport system for Lagos. We developed proposals for the implementation of express shuttle bus services linking with the proposed Blue Line of the Lagos Rail Mass Transit terminal area.  We analysed (based on existing passenger forecasts) likely peak time travel demands from LRMT and their respective destinations.  Subsequently, the passenger forecast calculations were used to inform the outline design of a new public transport interchange that will provide a logical and cohesive link between the LRMT system and its bus based counterpart.

RUBIS – new forms of public transport technology -  ITP played an active role in the RUBIS Economic Interest Group consisting of manufacturers, operators and local authorities seeking to develop and demonstrate new forms of public transport technology in medium sized cities and regions. With trials in Paris, Trieste, Clermont Ferrand and Madrid ITP’s specific responsibility was to advise on evaluation methodology in order to define user reaction to novel transport systems. We worked with APTS, manufacturers of the innovative Phileas vehicle, on its implementation in Eindhoven to serve the new community of Meerhoven.

Ely station interchange study - ITP worked with local delivery partners on a study to scope out the potential for improving the interchange facilities at Ely railway station.  The project involved a detailed review of existing evidence, accessibility modelling using the ACCESSION model and primary market research with members of the public - both users and non-users of Ely station.  We also built consensus with local stakeholder groups and the various client organisations through visioning workshops during the course of the study.  The key output was an action plan (including an “ATOC standard” station travel plan) for delivering improvements to station facilities at Ely, with due consideration of the local constraints and ongoing regeneration and development in the area. 

Review and assessment of vehicle options - The added value of high quality vehicle options is often not clear, leaving those procuring such vehicles with difficulties justifying the additional expenditure involved. For Greater Manchester PTE, ITP undertook a comprehensive review of vehicle options including an evaluation of performance, characteristics, options and costs. This was followed by revealed preference surveys in Rouen , Clermont Ferrand, Lyon and Eindhoven where high quality vehicles are operating. The result was a valuable insight to how users value the vehicle relative to other system features, which could be applied by GMPTE on future high quality bus service initiatives.

Central Severn Vale public transport improvement – Working for Stagecoach, ITP developed a phased approach to improvement of the core public transport corridor through the Central Severn Vale incorporating Cheltenham and Gloucester. Initial work involved the development of a new Quality Bus Partnership incorporating on street priority, stop and information enhancement. We also developed a longer term vision for a segregated high quality intermediate transit system.

Ghana bus pilot project - As part of the Ghana Urban Transport Project, ITP was appointed by the Ghanaian Government to develop a series of public transport routes that might be used to test new regulatory legislation which allowed franchising of bus services in the country with the aim of enhanced service provision. We analysed patronage on each route and developed a service plan and business case for improved service provision. Each route was examined to identify improvements (including stops and terminals)to facilitate more efficient bus services, and we also developed a set of procedure manuals for operations and enforcement and training procedures.  The pilot bus franchise routes will be pathfinders for the pilot Bus Rapid Transit corridor in Accra and will provide a context for enhanced service provision throughout the country.

Nottinghamshire integrated transport unit study - ITP undertook an in-depth review of all passenger transport service delivery for Nottinghamshire County Council.  This included supported bus services, social services transport and educational transport.  We carried out a case study based benchmarking exercise, including six visits to other shire authorities around the UK.  We then developed and assessed four potential future options, taking account of efficiency, cost and funding considerations.   Our recommendations for change (which have now been implemented) included re-structuring the delivery team to integrate functions and improve monitoring of delivery performance.  We were subsequently commissioned by Government to produce a national good practice guide on integrated transport units for local authorities.