Operations include consideration of service coordination, operating costs, integrated ticketing, unimpeded passenger movement, maintenance, safety and servicing.
Most interchange zones incorporate a number of different functions - a range of public transport services arriving and departing from different locations, waypoints for onward travel by feeder modes (such as taxi ranks or simply station exits), ticketing facilities, waiting areas and retail opportunities. The movement of passengers, public transport vehicles and non-users through the interchange zone can be complex so it is important to plan the interactions between these movements to maximise efficiency and minimise conflicts.
At the planning and design stages, the needs of each function and movement within the interchange zone should be properly understood and mapped. Fundamentally this will include quantifying the patterns of movement between each function and how these change across a day or week and how they may change in the future, and the characteristics of the people making these movements. Consideration should also be given to the needs of those operating transport and other services, such as provision of staff facilities including cycle parking.
A clear understanding of these needs can add great value in decisions and trade-offs relating to the location of each function, the nature and capacity of the movement spaces between them, and the location of opportunity spaces. Every interchange zone is different and the trade-offs and decisions will be different for each.
Sufficient capacity should be provided to meet current and expected levels of passenger activity and movement between key points within the interchange zone. Flows by direction are the most important consideration in movement spaces. In decision and opportunity spaces, the patterns of movement through the space may be more important, especially where they conflict with one another. In opportunity spaces, the capacity required for passengers waiting or queuing for tickets must also be considered and possible conflicts with movements designed out - peak periods for waiting and queuing may not be the same as those for movement.
Best practice inter-modal journeys rely on excellent interchange and coordinated public transport service provision. In most cases passengers want to spend as little time in the interchange zone as possible which requires very high frequency service levels and/or coordinated timetabling and operation across services and modes.
The perception of an integrated network of services should be enhanced through coordinated on-vehicle announcements (for example about interchange opportunities at the next stop/station) such as on iBus, and through coordinated information, such as the Legible London programme.
Where connections are missed passengers should be informed about their onward travel options in all possible formats (ie visual and audio), irrespective of mode and, where last services are missed, alternative travel arrangements provided.
Simple and consistent timetabling helps passengers remember connection information and provides reassurance.
London's fares and ticketing system is becoming increasingly integrated, but there is still room for improvement in coordination between operators. Ideally, the administrative boundaries between operators should not be visible to passengers although achieving this may require discussion beyond the scope of the interchange facility or zone in question.
Benefits to passengers and operators can be achieved through, for example:
Facilities for topping up Oyster pre-pay cards should be provided at all ticket facilities and adjacent to all paid areas.
Designs should give clarity as to the function, and appropriate ownership, of areas in the minds of passengers while avoiding 'tidemarks' which reduce the perception of an integrated network.
Design and operation should also make it very clear to passengers that they are entering or leaving fare paid areas through clarity of gate lines, positioning of Oyster readers and use of advisory signing. This is particularly important where Transport for London services interface with other operators - such as Rail/Underground platforms where no physical barrier exists between operating environments and passengers may unwittingly transfer from rail to underground without validating their ticket or where multiple gate lines exist.
Interchange facilities should be designed to maximise efficiency of regular maintenance and cleaning processes. For example, equipment, seating and so on should be designed and placed so as to allow easy access for cleaning under, over and around the feature, easy-clean materials used and, as far as possible, parts and materials should be standardised. This will encourage a positive perception from users of the space, minimise the risk of accidents and promote a sense of safety and security.
Many interchange zones and interchange facilities are the responsibility of more than one operator, leaseholder or landowner. A maintenance and servicing plan should be agreed so that all interested parties can coordinate activities such as cleaning, both with each other and to avoid disruption to passengers and to ensure a high standard of condition throughout the interchange zone.
Operators should work with the London boroughs and other responsible agencies to ensure that the management of the public spaces in the interchange zone more generally are sympathetic to the functioning of the interchange zone, and in particular that these spaces are clean, well maintained, well lit and secure.
From time-to-time it will be necessary to display temporary information about, for example, service changes or alterations to walking routes. Identification of locations, particularly in decision spaces, to display temporary information should be undertaken during the design stage.
The information needs to be located where it will be seen by passengers, but must avoid intruding on sight lines or causing an obstruction in a movement space. Temporary information boards located in movement spaces can be a hazard for those with visual impairments. Management plans of existing interchange facility or zone should specify where such information can be displayed. Temporary information displays should always be accompanied by regular public address announcements.
All interchange facilities will require at least some delivery of goods and materials, such as for regular cleaning, servicing retail outlets or for infrequent maintenance events. Most often, goods and materials are delivered by road, requiring suitable access routes and provision of loading bays, either within the interchange facility or nearby on-street. At larger interchange facilities, full servicing yards may be required, at small interchange facilities short-term loading bays may be sufficient.
Full consideration should be given to the requirements for servicing both in terms of vehicle movements outside interchange facilities and in terms of the movement of goods within interchange facilities (for example, whether goods can be transported avoiding steps and whether cash can be easily transported). In some areas, Freight Quality Partnerships have been set up to represent freight users needs and they should be consulted at an early stage.