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Integrated multimodal network planning
The concept of Integrated Multimodal Network Planning means that:
- Public transport networks should aim to provide a good level of service to access an entire urban region, not just a city center;
- The key to a good system is well-organised, legible routes with fast, effective and easy interchanges between services;
- Different routes must be planned to complement each other - not compete (which usually means having a regulatory authority with strategic planning responsibility and authority over the network);
- The mechanism for allowing quick transfers between lines is to
- Ticketing systems for the network should support easy transfers between lines, and treat all modes (eg train, tram or light rail, bus) the same as far as possible.
The concept has been developed by public transport developers and researchers progressively over several decades. A particularly good examples of it in practice pointed to by relevant experts is Zurich, in Switzerland. Even in countries with high level of individual car ownership, cities providing a fast and integrated public transport network, such as Vancouver and Toronto, have also found public transport to be a much more effective option and better patronised than in other comparable cities.
Coupled with Public Transport Prioritisation measures and traffic-calming of automobiles, public transport integrated network planning can be an important step towards a more balanced and hopefully environmental sustainable transport system in urban regions.
Tools and Indicators compatible with this concept
Several computer GIS tools, including those based on Open Source software, can support understanding and improving a city's transit network compatible with this goal of an integrated network, such as Travel Time Maps. See Open Source GIS-T Public Transport Tools Review for more.
- The Open Source Sustainable Transport Informatics Platform OSSTIP Project.
- "HiTrans Best Practice Guides 2: Public Transport - Planning the Networks", (http://www.civitas.no/pdf/HiTrans2PublicTransportPlanningThe%20Networks.pdf) lead-authored by Gustav Nielsen - explains the integrated multimodal network planning concept, provides detailed examples, and tools for supporting this;
- "Network Design for Public Transport Success: Theory and Examples", by Gustav Nielsen and Truls Lange, (presented at the 2010 Thredbo Transport conference) : http://www.thredbo-conference-series.org/downloads/thredbo10_papers/thredbo10-themeE-Nielsen-Lange.pdf
- The book "Transport for Suburbia: Beyond the Automobile Age", by Dr Paul Mees (http://books.google.com.au/books/about/Transport_for_Suburbia.html)
- The blog http://www.humantransit.org provides many good articles compatible with this network planning goal.