Research is a key part of our workload, including standalone transport research projects and research required as part of transport planning commissions. There is synergy between our research and planning activities - our transport planning activities benefit from keeping abreast of the state-of-the-art through research, while our research activities benefit from being grounded in knowledge of what is possible and practical in implementing transport measures.
As well as desktop and literature research, we undertake a wide range of economic and social analyses. We have an excellent social and market research capability covering both qualitative and quantitative research, including conduct and analysis of:
- Focus groups
- Mini groups
- Individual or paired in-depth interviews
- Interactive workshops
- Postal surveys
- In-street surveys
- At-stop surveys
- Door-to-door household surveys
- Web surveys
- Travel diary surveys
Where appropriate, we work in partnership with reputable, high quality fieldwork agencies for large scale quantitative surveys.
Making personal travel planning work - ITP was commissioned by the UK Department for Transport to undertake a major international study that examined the effectiveness of personal travel planning (PTP) techniques. The study involved literature review, extensive case study interviews with leading practitioners, the convening of an international expert panel, and a world-wide review of best practice. At the end of the study, the body of evidence was critically reviewed and a series of research reports was produced. This included publication of national best practice guidelines aimed at those delivering and evaluating PTP in the UK.
Review of UK mobility services for older and disabled people - ITP led an in-depth review of the mobility services provided for disabled and older people to support their independent and personal mobility. We undertook primary research work to gather views and data from providers of mobility services for disabled and older people, service users and third party stakeholder organisations. This included interviewing key decision-makers at over 30 UK service provider organisations and representative bodies, and conducting 17 Focus Group discussions and 18 depth interviews in order to speak directly to older and disabled people from a range of different social backgrounds and with experience of different age, health, physical and sensory impairments. By contrasting the segmented needs of mobility service users against the current range of mobility services which are currently available in the UK, this study informed DfT and other Government departments’ strategic decision making regarding future policy and grant funding support for the mobility services sector.
Concessionary fares - the passenger perspective - ITP was appointed by Passenger Focus (the national independent body representing the interests of rail, bus and coach passengers) to undertake national research on the impacts on bus passengers of the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme for older and disabled people. This included both qualitative research (through focus groups) and quantitative research (a survey at bus stops and stations) at selected locations that covered different types of geographic area. Our research findings showed that the scheme is popular with older and disabled bus users, and that bus users who currently have to pay full fare are
equally positive. They also showed that not having to pay to use the bus is making it easier for older and disabled people to lead full and active lives, and that in most cases the scheme does not appear to be having an excessive impact on overcrowding or the quality of local bus services.
National research on car sharing and car club schemes - ITP was commissioned by the UK Department for Transport to research best practice in car sharing and car club schemes in closed communities. Both car sharing and car clubs provide significant opportunities for reducing single occupancy car use and promoting social inclusion. Our research assessed the effectiveness of current approaches to car share and car club schemes, through a programme which included an initial desk study, detailed site reviews, and interviews with leading practitioners. We produced national best practice guidelines for car share and car club schemes, aimed at employers, schools, developers and local authorities.
Research on buses and the economy - ITP was part of a multidisciplinary team appointed by the UK Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) to conduct initial research on the impacts of “pro-bus strategies” on local town centre economies. We were the lead transport consultants, working alongside experts in town planning and economic development. Our work involved identifying a range of different strategy types, identifying and classifying a range of case studies and developing an assessment framework.
“Better use measures” research study – We were appointed to provide expert input to a DfT research study led by Independent Social Research to examine the national and international evidence base associated with “better use measures”. These are generally small scale measures which make better use of the existing transport network. The study was let in response to the benefits highlighted by such approaches in the Eddington Study, and the recommendations from the study have informed a future evaluation framework for smarter choices and small scale infrastructure projects which seek to encourage walking, cycling, public transport and car sharing.
Blue Badge eligibility extension research - ITP was commissioned by DfT to lead a team conducting research into the feasibility and practical implications of extending eligibility for Blue Badges (parking badges for disabled people) to people with severe cognitive impairments and people with severe but temporary mobility problems. Our work was structured in 2 phases over 8 months and involved recruiting and conducting qualitative research with a panel of eminent medical experts; reviewing whether existing benefit eligibility criteria could be used; assessing the numbers and associated costs with eligibility extensions; and addressing the practicalities of eligibility assessment. This included significant liaison with local authority staff who deliver the Blue Badge scheme. We made recommendations on the best way forward for implementing eligibility changes and contributed to policy impact assessments.
Ethnographic research into Cebu public transport user needs – As part of a wider BRT pre-feasibility study, we undertook detailed ethnographic research on public transport operations and user needs in the city of Cebu in the Philippines. This involved a structured programme of covert observational research on the experiences of public transport users at different stages of their journey, including pre-journey (eg. reaching a stop), boarding a vehicle, the in-journey experience, alighting and post-journey. This provided a rich source of information that complemented more conventional user needs research through focus groups and surveys.