It’s important to think about how and when you might be able to influence people’s decisions. Someone who is used to always getting in their car to make a journey may be unlikely to pick up a cycling map or a rail timetable straight away. A range of more subtle measures may be more effective first. Perhaps a sign pointing to a short-cut for cycling off a congested road or an ‘Ale by Rail’ poster might make them think differently about how they get to work or get back from the pub.
Accurate up-to-date information is always vital. But often ‘less is more’. In other words simplified maps and timetables that highlight the key information can be much more effective than those that are too complex and detailed.
There are different stages of the journey making process when better information can be helpful:
- deciding where to go - to the supermarket, a local shop or order a home delivery?
- deciding how to get there - by car, bus, bike or foot?
- departure - is there an up-to-date bus timetable or a map showing cycle routes at the station?
- on the journey - is there information where to get off or change services, or signs to keep you on a cycle route?
- arrival - is there information telling you when return bus services will leave and where from? Is cycle parking clearly visible?
- return - as above.
In terms of different travel options, the following sets out some ideas to consider:
- train - operators already provide timetables and maps, now they are improving the range of onward information at stations.The main gap is simplified localised information, for example listing services and ticket types from your nearest station.
- bus - information is often poor outside bigger cities. Route maps can at best be difficult to understand, if they exist at all. There is a lot of scope to make simplified timetables and maps of routes and where the stops are.
- beyond buses - it can be difficult to explain how Demand Responsive Transport works or to show it in conventional bus maps. So information and promotion is really helpful. But it needs to be integrated with information about connecting transport.
- walking - even people who have lived or work in an area for some time may not be aware of walking routes. Wayfinding information can give people enough confidence they won’t get lost if they walk a different way.
- cycling - as with walking, wayfinding information is really helpful. Cycling maps are good too to help with longer journeys or where local cycle routes are simply signed with route numbers. Promotion and advice, for example how to carry luggage or staying dry when cycling in the rain, should be considered too.
- driving - promotional and educational information is the gap as most lift sharing sites and car clubs already have good web sites.
- local shops and services - promotional materials are useful, including those that highlight how popping into local shops can be better and cheaper overall than driving to the supermarket.