Towards comprehensive national public transport information on the Internet: the PTI web site


J Austin

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Subject Area

planning - signage/information


The PTI website (Public Transport Information) can be found at It provides a 'gateway' to traveller information on all public transport in the UK, essentially, it is an index of other Internet websites providing traveller information for all public transport modes. It covers travel within the UK (i.e. both Great Britain and Northern Ireland), and also includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. It also includes travel between these places and the Republic of Ireland, as well as covering rail, ferry and coach travel between the UK and mainland Europe. These areas are shown within PTI because, as well as being aimed at UK residents, the site has tourists to the UK as a significant target audience. These may tend to consider onward travel to Ireland, and travel to the Isle of Man and Channel Islands, as part of their UK visit. PTI links to all reliable information on these public transport services which is available on the Web. However, in many cases such information does not at present exist on the Web, though the extent of public transport information shown there is growing. In such cases, PTI shows phone numbers and opening hours for dedicated public transport enquiry lines provided by local government authorities. PTI includes scheduled public transport services offering point-to-point journeys. It does not cover coach excursions and tours; neither, at the present time, does it cover taxi services, although ways of including these in PTI are currently being examined. PTI has specific criteria for including sites, related to data sourcing and maintenance. Regarding data sourcing, sites must be produced by one of the following, or with their explicit co-operation: * Public transport operators * Relevant government authorities' (defined as central Government transport departments, local government authorities, and other public agencies with a responsibility for, or interest in, promoting public transport, such as National Park Authorities or government transport regulators) * Ticketing companies acting on behalf of public transport operators or local authorities and Metropolitan Public Transport Executives (PTEs). 'Explicit co-operation' means that data has been supplied by operators (or relevant government authorities or ticketing companies) to the website authors for the express purpose of constructing a public transport website. Sites produced by 'travel attractors', such as hospitals, universities, airports and tourist attractions, and giving information on how to travel to them by public transport, are also eligible for inclusion in PTI provided they meet the other criteria. Regarding maintenance, owners of sites included in PTI must undertake to maintain these sites, and to ensure that they are valid at all times, including ensuring the correct working of all links to pages within the site. Sites providing seasonal timetables must make clear the period of validity of such timetables. PTI provides a listing of sites firstly by geographical area, and then within that geographical area by various categorisations. Within a specific geographical area sites are divided between four broad types: * all-area, all-mode-sites (e.g. sites provided by local authorities and giving information on all public transport in that area, to a varying degree of detail) * place-specific sites (e.g. sites for visitor attractions) * mode-specific sites (e.g. a bus company site, or a site for a ferry company) * leisure-travel sites. These are a somewhat difficult area. This category includes sites advertising public transport where the travel by the public transport mode is an end in itself (e.g. a preserved 'heritage railway' line). It also includes sites explaining how to travel to a leisure facility by public transport. The geographical areas that PTI shows relate to the areas of authorities having responsibility for public transport co-ordination: county councils, unitary authorities and metropolitan Passenger Transport Authorities. These areas are accessed through interactive maps and drop-down lists. PTI also has other site categories for sites which cannot be classified geographically. These are: * Sites for major transport operating groups * Sites advertising National Public Transport Enquiry Lines * Sites advertising Public Transport information products which can be purchased but are not themselves available on the Internet (e. g. the site for the JourneyPlan software product used to plan journeys within the UK by rail and / or air) * Sites giving single-mode information throughout the UK (e.g. the Railtrack 'Rail Timetables On-Line' site). Since such sites have specific geographical detail they are shown on the relevant mode-page for each geographical area.


Permission to publish abstract given by AET.