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Enhancing public transport with reliable and accurate RTPI

19 August 2016  •  Author(s): Jim Grieve, Programme Manager, SEStran & Stuart Maxwell, Director, WYG Ltd.

BustrackerSEStran is a regional fleet management and live bus information system covering south-east Scotland. Jim Grieve, Programme Manager at SEStran1 and Stuart Maxwell, Director of WYG Ltd, explore the challenges associated with delivering a successful long-term, multi-stakeholder public sector transport project of this type against a backdrop of significant capital and revenue budget cuts; evolving systems and communications options; and changing stakeholder aspirations.

SEStran (the South East Scotland Transport Partnership) is one of seven Regional Transport Partnerships (RTPs) in Scotland set up by the Transport (Scotland) Act 2005 with a core remit to develop a Regional Transport Strategy (RTS). SEStran covers a wide range of geographical locations from the highly urban Edinburgh city centre, to the rural Borders. A main aim of the RTS is to promote transport policies and measures that support regional growth; provide a transport system that allows the economy to function efficiently and enables all societal groups to share in the region’s success through high-quality access to services and opportunities; respects the environment; and contributes to better health. Achieving this requires public transport improvements that enhance the range, quality and reliability of services across the area.

The bus network in the region serves an area of very mixed urban/rural character. It is delivered by a mixed economy of bus operators of significantly varying sizes. Stagecoach and First Bus are the largest commercial regional operators. Edinburgh is predominantly served by the publically-owned Lothian Buses – City of Edinburgh Council being the major share – holder. Through its Regional Transport Strategy, SEStran was mandated to develop a system similar to the successful City of Edinburgh Council /Lothian Buses project already operating in and around Edinburgh. The new SEStran system would cover the region and be open to multiple bus operators whilst respecting commercial confidentiality. The feasibility report recommended a 1,000 bus system with 600 real-time passenger information displays and 150 traffic signal priority junctions.

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