Delivering Placed-Based and User-Centric Collaboration to Support More Connected Mobility Across the North: TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2023 Retrospective


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Matt Smallwood is leading work on connected mobility at Transport for the North. At TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2023, we had the pleasure of welcoming him back to update us on how TfN has been supporting authorities across the North in realising their visions for more connected passenger journeys.

Matt’s keynote explained the key areas of focus and outlined TfN’s progress towards implementing a collaborative, and holistic, connected mobility strategy that is placed-based, user-centric and evidence-led. This strategy intends to empower North of England authorities to work quickly and at scale to provide joined-up passenger experiences across modes, across regions and with minimal duplication of cost and effort.

Summary of presentation highlights:

  • What is ‘Connected Mobility’?
  • What is Transport for the North’s role?
  • What are Transport for the North’s objectives?
  • Connected Mobility Hub – Activities so far (funded by DfT): Assisting York, Tees Valley and Lancashire to set the foundations for the rollout of contactless capping; ‘Washing-up’ findings from DRT pilots to develop concise recommendations in partnership with Lancashire county council; Developing a toolkit & roadmap for multi-operator ticketing and assessing levels of preparedness;
  • Connected Mobility Hub – Publications issued: “Demand Responsive Transport – Lessons Learnt”; “Enabling PAYG Interoperability – Tokenisation Report”; “Multi-Operator Ticketing – Delivery Roadmap”;
  • What’s Next? Implementing a regional connected mobility strategy;
  • Theme 1 – The Future of Ticketing (media, retail, payment and fares reform): Pay as You go/ABT; Multi-Modal Ticketing; Barcodes and new tokens; New and legacy smartcard schemes; Fares and retail reform;
  • Theme 2 – Data and Infrastructure (Enabling connections and information confidence): Open data and open source; Journey planning and disruptions; Integrating across place and mode; Standardised and interoperable data; Infrastructure and procurement; Enabling supplier and industry innovation;
  • Theme 3 – Future Mobility (Integrating new modes, micro mobility and First/Last Mile): Demand responsive transport; Integrating micro-mobility; EV & Car Club Integrations; Integrating and rewarding active travel; Connecting to mobility hubs; Future facing and innovation;
  • Placed-Based – Why a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work for the North of England’s diverse set of locations;
  • Commuter towns – e.g. Warrington: Focus on delivering reliable multi-modal hub and spoke transport options;

  • Large conurbations – e.g. Liverpool, Leeds: Public transport must be integrated, reliable, accessible, and inclusive for all users;
  • Rural and dispersed communities – e.g. Ribble Valley: Community based transport will play a key role for access and private vehicle travel should be more sustainable;
  • Visitor destinations – e.g. Blackpool: A tourist-industry friendly offer and timetable, complemented with reliable information systems, and tickets integrated with leisure;
  • Transformational places – e.g. York: High levels of car ownership for workers in knowledge intensive jobs creates a need to prioritise modal shift to public transport;
  • Industrial places – e.g. Gateshead: 15/20 minute neighbourhoods with multimodal hubs where feeder bus services connect to rail stations or hub and spoke services;
  • User-Centric – The way people travel has changed, how they pay has changed and their attitudes to cash have changed too;
  • Technical Literacy/Digital Access – The ‘digital divide’;
  • Attitudes to Cash – The move to digital and contactless payments;
  • Changing Travel Behaviour – National Travel Survey split of journey by purpose; Flexible and hybrid working reshaping the traditional understanding of a commuter market;
  • Levels of Social Exclusion – TfN research shows that 3.3 million people in the North live in areas where there is a high risk of social exclusion because of transport issues: Ticketing, journey planning and data infrastructure should be prioritised around reducing this risk and increasing accessibility;
  • Industry Partnerships – TfN partnering with mode operators, technical suppliers and local authorities;
  • Public Transport Patronage; Rail Regulation; Local Ambitions; and Bus Innovation

If you satisfy our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join in Leeds on May 25th for the live in-person event at Nexus, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Matt’s keynote).

Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling, partnering and policy leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers and planners from local authorities (e.g. city, borough, metropolitan, district and county councils); public transport operators; regional transport partnerships, sub-regional transport bodies, combined authorities, integrated transport authorities and passenger transport executives; highways authorities and road operators; government and supporting national transport agencies; fleet operators, parking operators, prime contractors etc.

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TRANSPORT Smart Class, North of England 2023

On May 25th we will be casting a spotlight over the North of England, hosting our speakers discussions on how the latest digital innovations can help overcome the transport and mobility challenges faced by city-regions of the Northern Powerhouse and beyond.


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