Design and Evaluation Framework

The Design and Evaluation Framework has been established for this guidance to help optimise interchange facility design and operation and measure performance of existing or proposed interchange zones. The framework complements, rather than replaces, the standard New Approach to Appraisal (NATA) used to evaluate public sector investment in transport improvements based on the five NATA criteria:

  • Environment
  • Economy
  • Accessibility
  • Safety
  • Integration

How it works

The Design and Evaluation Framework is complementary as it offers the capability to emphasise different aspects of interchange. For example, the framework can capture perceptions (which may differ) from different viewpoints; it also aims to take into account the nature and quality of the design for users, operators and others. These aspects may cut across more than one NATA criteria and might not be properly addressed or fully captured if considered only in the context of those criteria.

Two concepts underlie this approach:

  • Understanding how an interchange zone is perceived by all those with an interest in it - passengers, non-users, transport operators, regulatory authorities, providers or developers of facilities and services
  • The flows and movements of people and services within the interchange zone and between the interchange zone and its surrounding area

The framework adopts a question-based approach to achieving best practice and is set out as four themes, each with four principles. Each principle includes one or more questions (criteria) that must be considered and addressed during the planning or design stage of an interchange facility or zone.

The questions represent criteria which should be addressed at most interchange zones - other criteria and questions may be appropriate in particular circumstances; some, equally, may not always be relevant. The importance and relevance of these principles will vary depending on the interchange zone and each must be considered on a location-specific basis.

The Design and Evaluation Framework is intended to:

  • Highlight key considerations during the design and planning stages of a new or improved interchange facilities or zones
  • Provide a set of criteria against which the quality of an existing or planned interchange zone can be scored

Differing requirements

The themes and principles can be thought about from the perspective of those with an interest in the interchange zone such as passengers, local residents, station manager or service providers.

The optimal configuration of an interchange zone will be informed by understanding and balancing the needs of each of these groups. The most important needs and aspirations of these groups, where they differ, are set out below.


  • Fully accessible
  • Maximum convenience
  • Minimal journey times and distances
  • Reliability
  • Realtime information
  • Safety
  • Free from passenger congestion
  • Convenience shopping

Other passengers eg tourists, leisure

As commuters, plus:

  • Staff presence
  • Simple and intuitive wayfinding
  • Service and local information
  • Pleasant ambience
  • Good waiting areas
  • Cleanliness
  • Ticket sales and information
  • Comparison shopping

Transport operators

  • Fast, simple and convenient connection point between services
  • Efficient movement of passengers, minimal obstruction
  • Revenue generation
  • Efficient movement of public transport vehicles
  • Built-in recovery time and resilience to service disruption
  • Passenger and vehicle safety and security
  • Ticket sales
  • Minimising operating costs
  • Transport operator facilities and equipment

Boroughs and the GLA family

  • Space and time-efficient transport interchange
  • Economic growth and regeneration (both socio-economic and physical)
  • Access to jobs and services
  • Greater modal choice
  • Protection and enhancement of the built and natural environment
  • Improved safety and security
  • Improved local image and character

Commercial/retail operators and developers

  • Maximum interior floor space/frontage for retail or other commercial activities
  • External space for commercial, residential or cultural/leisure development
  • High passenger/visitor numbers
  • Commercial/financial viability
  • High quality mixed-use space
  • Servicing arrangements
  • A recognisable, unique and attractive location

Interchange management

The Interchange Best Practice Guidelines have been developed to encourage cooperation and coordination between those organisations involved in designing, implementing and managing London's interchange facilities with the aim of providing improved levels of service for passengers.

This cooperation is necessary both at individual interchange facilities, and network-wide. Network-wide cooperation includes network and service planning, ticketing, journey planning information, service disruptions and marketing.

Interchange facility management agreements

If an interchange facility is owned, managed or served by more than one organisation, the organisations involved should agree cooperative procedures. Ideally, these procedures will be set out in an interchange facility management agreement to:

  • Identify interfaces between all the parties involved in managing and serving the interchange facility including external bodies, particularly the fire brigade, ambulance service, police and local authorities
  • Establish clear responsibilities for managing these interfaces
  • Provide unambiguous accountabilities for the tasks that are required to ensure that the interchange facility operates successfully

These procedures should cover day-to-day operation of the interchange facility and stipulate what should happen in case of an emergency or service disruption. Interchange facility management agreements should not be made in isolation from existing agreements, such as for staffing, but should be built into them if commercially or legally feasible, and supplement them where it is not.

Commercial leases

Commercial leases should be supportive of the interchange facility management agreement by ensuring that the leaseholder does not do anything that will interfere with the safe and efficient operation of the interchange facility or zone as set out in under the Design and Evaluation Framework and Zones sections in this guidance.

Scope of interchange agreements

The scope of the interchange facility management agreement will depend upon the scale and complexity of the individual interchange, but could include:

  • Agreement of interchange zone spatial management
  • Arrangements for cooperation on interchange facility staffing
  • Emergency and service disruption procedures
  • Information, ticketing and advertising
  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Temporary structures
  • Hours of operation and access rights
  • Passenger facilities provision

Some of the factors that operators may wish to consider in drawing up interchange agreements are covered below. In locations where the preparation of a formal interchange facility management agreement is not justified, it is intended that interchange facility operators will consider the guidelines set out below where applicable.

Review of interchange facility management procedures
It is recommended that operators of interchange facilities should meet at least once a year to review how well operational arrangements for the interchange facility are working.

Arrangements for cooperation on the staffing of the interchange facility
At multi-operator interchange facilities, the operator with overall management responsibility for the interchange facility should lead on coordinating staffing matters that impact on the interchange facility.

At interchange facilities where management is shared; the main operator should take a lead role on coordinating staffing matters that impact on the interchange facility. Each individual operator should continue to be responsible for staffing those parts of the interchange facility that are under its direct control.

These guidelines do not replace existing contractual obligations operators may have under the terms of their operating licence or lease to take responsibility for the coordination of staffing matters.

Communication of management responsibilities to passengers
The interchange facility operator with overall responsibility should ensure that passengers know what to do or who to contact if they have a problem or query. This is particularly important at interchange facilities staffed or served by more than one operator.

Arrangements for dealing with service disruptions and communicating with passengers and other operators
The agreement should include a plan for operators to inform passengers, and other operators at the interchange facility, of disruption to services, consistent with network-wide service disruption communication protocols.

Emergencies and safety
Emergency and evacuation procedures, and access rules must be agreed with the police, ambulance and fire services, and should be tested as stipulated within TfL and statutory safety regulations that apply to the interchange facility or zone. These procedures should be included in training modules for new staff and refresher purposes.