Service information

Information within an interchange zone can serve multiple uses, providing service information on public transport operations, opening hours and locating the interchange facility or zone in the local area. Information should be delivered across the full range of media including audio, visual and tactile to meet with the needs of all interchange facility users.

Does information meet with the needs of all passengers?

Information needs vary by passenger type and journey stage. For example, regular commuters may value timely warning of disruptions or delays more than detailed timetables; visitors on the other hand, benefit from simple service, ticket and location information that enables them to understand the journey options available to them.

Disabled passengers, who may have concerns over their ability to move around safely, require information on accessibility of stations, facilities and help that may be available for their particular needs.

In many cases people may not be aware that a journey is feasible because they are unaware of opportunities to interchange. The provision of comprehensive, consistent, easily understandable multi-modal information at appropriate decision points can greatly improve and facilitate travelling.

Is pre-journey information located where passengers need it?

Before starting the journey, pre-journey planning information may include printed materials and online journey planning. Journey information can be obtained prior to travelling either online or by telephone. Our website provides a full listing of all available information channels. Further information on materials to be used can be found in our Streetscape guidance.

Is in-journey information located where and when passengers need it?

Information for reassurance enable corrective action to be taken when trips don't proceed to plan, including links to realtime displays (with supporting on-board displays), audio-visual announcements, text messaging and mobile information.

Within an interchange zone, the following information should be positioned at entrances and other locations to meet with passenger needs and movements. It is essential that information and maps are kept up to date to maintain passenger confidence and usefulness. They should give enough information to be useful but avoid confusion by being too complex.

Typically, the following information should be provided:

  • A map of the interchange zone should be on display at all main entrances and exits. This should show the location of each mode within and around the interchange zone, surrounding destinations, cycle and car parking, bus stops, coaches, taxis and passenger facilities such as toilets and other amenities
  • Transport route maps should be shown. Further detail is sometimes required, such as which exit a passenger needs to take from a station to get to the correct bus stop. At a bus station or group of stops, information should show which bus stop to wait at to get the correct bus. For those who have audio impairments, touch screens can be helpful to enable them to investigate their route, such as those at St Pancras
  • Spider maps such as the London Underground map and most London bus maps are generally recommended, as they minimise the need for local knowledge and should indicate further interchange opportunities
  • Timetables or frequency of service information for all routes serving the interchange zone should be available at the interchange zone itself. This should show onward connections where appropriate. Where services are reliable and of high frequency, customers are less dependent on timetable information and first/last service information may be all that is required
  • Fares, fare zones, and ticketing information including ticket office hours and clear instructions about what passengers should do if the ticket office is closed, should also be on display in the interchange
  • Help points and contact information for those seeking further information
  • Pedestrian routes
  • Cycle routes and parking zones
  • Car parks
  • Drop-off zone

At large interchanges, travel information centres can prove particularly beneficial in providing information about both public transport services and feeder modes.

Is realtime information visible, legible and where passengers need it?

Passengers should have a clear idea of when their connection is going to arrive. Without this information they can feel vulnerable or anxious, as they do not know how long they will be waiting. Realtime information such as train and tube platform indicators and iBus can reassure waiting passengers, as well as enabling them to make better informed decisions about their journey, and what they can do with the time that they spend waiting.

Live travel news is available online for selected Tube lines, DLR and River Services, as well as live departure boards for National Rail. Free mobile alerts can be sent to registered users to alert them of delays to Tube or DLR journeys. These are useful for informing passengers in advance of travel disruptions or delays to their journeys.

Installation of realtime displays near the interchange zone, as well as at the stop/platform, helps integrate the interchange zone with its surrounding area, limits the time spent within the interchange zone and is seen as good practice, as it allows a passenger to wait in greater comfort and security. This has been done at several DLR stations such as Crossharbour, Canary Wharf and Heron Quays and more recently in larger London stations such as Victoria.

Such display information should always be close enough to be readable and placed in a location that will not receive too much glare from the sun. Where possible, screens should display platform public announcements in writing, to overcome problems by those with audio impairments.

Realtime displays can also be linked to audio systems that can be triggered by smart cards or key cards providing next service information on demand to visually impaired or other disabled users.

Some visually impaired passengers can find it difficult to read realtime information if it is displayed on screens mounted above eye level, for example suspended above platforms. It can be beneficial to provide additional screens at eye level, and provide signage to indicate their location.

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