Passenger information tools for public transport
The provision of traffic and travel information to the general public is an effective way of improving public transportation services and promoting the use of sustainable transportation.
Implementing sustainable mobility
A frequent complaint made by users of urban transport was the lack of clear and easily understandable information on bus routes, timetables and cycle lanes. The city had only seven panels displaying general information, but these were rarely used to provide information specifically related to transport.
In an effort to improve the provision of public information, the public bus service launched an information system in 2006 and established the first electronic information centres to keep members of the public fully up to date on the latest developments relating to cleaner transport and traffic conditions.
The objective was to encourage the use of cleaner urban transport by providing information on travel options to residents and visitors. The plan was to install electronic display panels at bus stops and to place notice boards throughout the city to inform the public about cleaner urban transport, parking facilities, tourist assistance and intermodality.
It was also planned to install 15 touch screens in strategic locations (train stations, the historic city centre, car parks, industrial parks, city access points etc.), providing real-time information on intermodal options for urban transport (buses, bicycle paths, intermodal connections, car pooling, traffic flows, pedestrian routes) to the main tourist destinations and cultural events. Transport information was also to be built into the structure of the local government website and other information services (recreation, tourism, business) to prioritise and promote cleaner urban transport.
Following an analysis of traffic conditions, the first step was to install panels displaying real-time information about the traffic situation on the city’s seven arterial roads (at junctions with other main roads). Because they are connected to the traffic control room, these can offer drivers ways to avoid city-centre congestion. They are especially useful when traffic is heavy (holidays), during parades or special events and during rush hour, when commuters are travelling from factories outside the city into the centre.
The next step was to install seven more panels on these arterial roads to indicate free off-road parking spaces and how to access them. At the same time, a marketing campaign was organised on the use of underground parking. Other instruments include touch screens at bicycle service points (of which there are 16 in total) with information on mobility issues (public transport, traffic conditions, parking spaces and the bicycle hire system). Another useful feature uses the municipal e-panels to provide advice and information on sustainable urban transport. This includes public transport timetables, goods distribution timetables, bicycle systems, fuel-saving tips and advice on safety and security. The same information is available for interactive use on the new mobility website. It contains advice on planning trips in the most sustainable manner and also offers a range of real-time images showing the traffic conditions. There is also information on accessibility, bicycles and bicycle lanes, walking, and all aspects of city mobility.
The success of the measure is mainy attributable to the positive participation of all stakeholders. Widespread social acceptance was achieved by holding several meetings to explain the system and seek agreement on critical points (such as goods distribution). Marketing campaigns depicted a new city centre free from cars. These invited the public to shop, enjoy the tapas bars and accompany their children in a safe and secure environment.
The data reflect the positive results. Shop rents in the area continue to be the most expensive in the city, suggesting that city-centre business continues to thrive. Surveys conducted on the measures also indicate that they have been well received: 92 percent believe restricted access to the city centre was and is necessary.
The information tools usually get a good reaction from the public because they are practical and also save time and fuel, which means less pollution in the city. Burgos has exported its participation concept to other cities (in Spain and abroad). The control centre and scheme have been visited by many people, ranging from children and university students to technicians from the USA and Japan.