An expert system to advise on urban public transport technologies

Roger Mackett
Marion Edwards


An important feature of the “sustainable city” concept is a requirement to provide attractive public transport alternatives to the car. In order to achieve this, some cities will require a new public transport system. However, there is no systematic method of deciding which public transport technology is the most appropriate in a given situation. Expertise in this area is limited to those who have implemented a new public transport system in their own city, and such expertise is not readily available to those embarking on the process. The aim of the UTOPIA (Urban Transport Operations and Planning using Intelligent Analysis) project is to develop an expert system to assist with the decision making process in cities investigating the development of a new public transport system. This paper outlines the features required of an expert system, then it goes on to discuss the knowledge acquisition techniques used to elicit information about fourteen British and thirty-two non-British systems which are either planned or became operational after 1976. Analysis of the information gives general knowledge about the nature of the cities, the systems, and the detailed rules used in the decision making process.