Transport integration - an impossible dream?

Potter, Stephen (2010). Transport integration - an impossible dream? In: Universities Transport Studies Group Annual Concerence, 5-7 Jan 2010, University of Plymouth.


Transport Integration and an Integrated Transport Policy have been widely espoused for many years, yet remain an ambiguous and ill-defined concept. After featuring strongly in the 1998 Transport Policy White Paper, recently transport integration has received less emphasis. However it appears it is set for a return under the new Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis.

This paper explores the meaning of Integrated Transport. It concludes that there is no point in attempting to identify a single definition, but that there are overlapping layers of meaning, with higher levels incorporating lower, or narrower, understandings of the term Integrated Transport. This exploration of meanings of integration is a development of initial work (Potter and Skinner 2000) and is important as the alternative meanings lead to different transport policy responses. These meanings include:

- Locational Integration: being able to easily change between transport modes (using Interchanges) - this is about services connecting in space

- Timetabling Integration: Services at an interchange connect in time.

- Ticketing Integration: Not needing to purchase a new ticket for each leg of a journey

- Information Integration: Not needing to enquire at different places for each stage of a trip - or that different independent sources are easily connected

- Service Design Integration: That the legal, administrative and governance structures permit/encouraging integration

- Travel Generation Integration: Integrating the planning of transport with the generators of travel (particularly integration with land use planning)

Furthermore, there are inherent tensions which make transport integration difficult to achieve. Only limited progress has been achieved in the UK since the 1998 White Paper, and even in Germany, with their strong transport policy structures, integration has failed (Schöller-Schwedes, 2009). This exploration of meanings will also explore the tensions involved as there is a danger of the UK chasing again a flawed concept.

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