TfL Interchange

London has some 600 stations which involve multi-modal interchange between various combinations of TfL and borough streets, walking, cycling, buses, taxis, tube, rail, light rail and tram. Our Interchange team monitor any significant new or changed transport and land-use developments at these interchanges, in order to identify any interchange requiring a more co-ordinated approach.

We have a unique role to ensure that all transport users and modes of transport are treated equally at the many transport interchanges across London. We lead our involvement in a flexible and balanced way: improving conditions for our customers at multi-modal interchanges, while maximising the overall value to London from transport and land use development, in and around interchange locations.

Our dynamic approach to multi-modal improvements focuses on ensuring transport is accessible and inclusive, providing links between communities and employment, education and many other opportunities throughout London. This work is integral to our delivery of improved transport for the Capital's travelling public and the integration of transport with the wider public realm.

Stakeholders are vital in helping achieve successful interchanges across London; the team's collaborative approach recognises that the transport requirements of London's interchanges can only be met through the cooperation of all partners.

Interchange Dynamic Planning

Our Interchange Dynamic Planning process establishes a greater understanding of London's local needs and challenges around interchanges, prioritising TfL's interchange investment across London. Working with stakeholders, such as local authorities, to ensure schemes integrate transport policy within other policy areas such as land use planning and economic development and prioritise our activity and investment.

We currently have a portfolio of programmes which includes key strategic interchanges where opportunities and threats are presented to the transport network by major land-use planning and development activities as well as many smaller but locally important interchanges where improvements can make a real difference to customers and their neighbourhoods.

Work is also focused on interchanges where significant impacts are presented by major transport developments, such as Crossrail.

An Interchange programme often includes multiple projects including both transport and land use initiatives which are sponsored by a variety of public and private sector organisations, including Network Rail, commercial developers and the London boroughs.

We lead through a programme management framework/process (Managing Schemes at Interchanges) which includes the following programme lifecycle phases:

  • Dynamic planning and prioritisation of interchange schemes
  • Interchange requirements definition
  • Options investigation and assessment
  • Single option development
  • Implementation and continued interchange governance
  • Programme closeout

Interchange Charter for London

We agree to work together in partnership to identify and implement opportunities to reduce the physical effort and uncertainty that passengers may experience when making an interchange in London. Our aim is to ensure that by minimising the barriers experienced by a passenger transferring between services and modes, the transport network is perceived as a coherent and integrated system.

With these aims in mind we undertake to:

  • Improve our understanding of what people find difficult about interchanging, and to work towards meeting peoples' reasonable expectations for tackling these difficulties
  • Collaborate in the identification, evaluation, development and implementation of improvement schemes, ensuring that resources are targeted on those schemes that achieve the greatest benefits
  • Work together to improve quality by identifying, encouraging and implementing best practice in the design and management of interchanges, achieving consistency wherever possible
  • Provide clear and consistent information to improve people's ability to plan journeys that involve an interchange, and to cooperate to provide clear and reassuring wayfinding information while the interchange is being made
  • Integrate interchanges into the urban fabric to provide wider benefits wherever this can be achieved in harmony with meeting transport needs

Inter-modal transport interchange

The focus of this section is on interchange between one mode of public transport and another, for example between bus and train. It also considers interchange between public transport and the 'feeder modes' used to get to and from the interchange, for example walk, cycle or motor vehicle.

Relevant TfL modal directorates provide guidelines on interchange between public transport services of the same mode. Formal Park and Ride (as opposed to parking at stations) is also a form of inter-modal interchange.

The word 'interchange' can mean a number of things. To avoid ambiguity, the following terminology is used throughout this section:

  • Interchange - the act of transferring between modes
  • Interchange facility - a purpose-built facility where interchange takes place, such as a railway station, bus station or bus/tram stop
  • Interchange zone - a wider area encompassing one or more interchange facilities creating a multi-modal hub, and public spaces

Why interchange is important

Interchange facilities are the hubs that link London's public transport services together to form a network. If transfers between these services can be made easier, quicker, and more convenient, travel opportunities for existing and new passengers will emerge that are better, more frequent and wider ranging with travel horizons broadened.

A world-class public transport system, incorporating best practice interchange hubs, will also help to meet the social, economic and environmental needs of a thriving and growing world city, including:

  • Supporting the continued economic development of London
  • Minimising the need to travel, by concentrating new jobs and homes around accessible locations
  • Easing congestion and tackling climate change by promoting more sustainable modes
  • Meeting the increasing demand for travel by public transport
  • Improving access to facilities and services in metropolitan and urban centres
  • Providing links between neighbourhoods and employment, education and other opportunities
  • Improving quality of life by improving air quality and by reducing noise and other environmental impacts
  • Acting as a catalyst for socio-economic and physical regeneration in local communities
  • Creating more attractive buildings and public spaces
  • Removing barriers which prevent disabled people and others with reduced mobility from travelling freely
  • Providing safer and more secure journeys

Acknowledging the challenges

TfL Interchange aims to inspire everyone to deliver best practice wherever possible. In practice, delivering to these ideals can be challenging, with these varying on a case-by-case basis.

There are, however, a number of common themes facing those seeking to improve interchange zones. In order to be a practical tool, this guidance has been prepared with these challenges in mind:

  • An already overcrowded network
  • An increasing demand for travel
  • Increasing passenger expectations of safety, security and comfort
  • Protecting the built and natural environment
  • Working within a complex transport industry
  • Differing needs of passengers and other users
  • Differing objectives, priorities and processes of delivery partners
  • Spatial and other constraints imposed by the heritage of London and its transport networks
  • Limited financial and human resources

A common evaluation framework

It is likely that each delivery partner and stakeholder organisation will have differing objectives and priorities and, as a result, will have different approaches to evaluating interchange schemes. Having said this, the organisations may share more common objectives than they may think, particularly in terms of how their objectives support wider policy goals such as economic growth, environmental protection, social inclusion and socio-economic and physical regeneration.

Shared objectives should be identified at an early stage and play an important role in shaping the design of the planned changes.

All organisations involved should work together to identify common inputs into the evaluation process, such as forecast passenger numbers or costs, even if these inputs are subsequently treated differently. In this way, consistency can be maximised and resources shared. Of course, ideally all organisations would use a common evaluation framework.

Justifying best practice

Achieving best practice is fundamentally about how an interchange facility zone is planned, designed and managed. In some instances, best practice outcomes may cost more, particularly where these relate to quality of materials or architecture-led design, in other cases best practice may result in improved cost efficiency through measures such as reduced energy consumption.

Justifying the additional costs associated with higher quality can sometimes be difficult. TfL's Business Case Development Manual (BCDM) offers some advice, particularly where the benefits relate to:

  • Facilities for disabled passengers
  • The ambience of the interchange experience
  • Modal shift from public transport to walking and cycling
  • Enhancement of the urban realm and creation of a sense of place
  • Improving personal safety and security
  • Tackling social inclusion
  • Achieving energy efficiency

The fact that these benefits may be harder to quantify should not deter aspiration to features which deliver them. Planners may be assisted in quantifying some of these benefits using Pedestrian Environment Review Software (PERS) audits and the BCDM guidance on assessing public realm benefits.

Improving the case for high quality schemes can be achieved by clearly demonstrating, in addition to the traditional benefits (such as journey time savings), the less tangible benefits accruing to all stakeholders. These include, for example, increasing the value of businesses within or close to the interchange zone, enhancing perceptions of safety, enhancing the urban realm, meeting borough targets for socio-economic regeneration or achieving efficiency savings for operators.

Working with developers

Many major interchange zone enhancements in London are at least part-funded through developer contributions secured via Section 106 obligations on developers to mitigate the impacts of their development on public infrastructure.

Commercial, retail or other development in, above or adjacent to interchange hubs is particularly attractive to developers due to their good accessibility by public transport (reflected in potential rental values) and high footfall.

This investment is clearly welcome, but with it comes a need to take account of the preferences of the developer in terms of the design of the interchange zone, most notably the location of commercial and retail floor space.

We already work with developers, along with other stakeholders, to strive for interchange enhancements which are optimal for all parties, including passengers and operators. The design framework underpinning these guidelines will assist both transport planners and developers in reaching outline interchange designs which satisfy the key requirements of all parties.

In particular, the spatial management principles offers a simple framework to define which functions must have priority in different spaces. By using this approach, planners can set out at an early stage what it is they require in terms of transport function of the interchange facility, giving developers a clear indication of the parameters within which they can operate.

Involvement of a developer in an interchange enhancement project should be seen as an opportunity to secure much-needed investment to overcome legacy issues that undermine the quality of the interchange experience. The resources and commitment to quality which developers can bring to a programme or project will add significant value if the principles set out in these guidelines are recognised and adopted.