Urban transport bosses have commissioned a new and improved model to help city regions plan the future of their bus networks.
The Urban Transport Group (UTG) said the tool would involve forecasting how factors such as population, employment, car ownership, service levels, fares and public funding will drive bus patronage over the next decade.
UTG director Jonathan Bray said: ‘One of our roles is to save money through joint procurement and the Metropolitan Bus Model is a prime example of how we do this through establishing a shared and unique resource rather than each transport authority commissioning their own forecasting tools.
‘The model also forms part of our wider programme of data-driven work on what is really driving bus patronage which is designed to help ensure that investment in bus services is targeted most effectively.’
The new model, which is expected to be operational in spring 2020, will replace the existing Metropolitan Bus Model (the only tool of its type), which UTG members have been using since 2011 in developing and implementing their bus strategies.
The UTG said the new model will have more sophisticated functionality than its predecessor, including the ability to test the implications of different policy measures or background trends on bus use by age group, by local authority district and at different times of the day.
WSP has been appointed to develop the model.