Rural transport service benefits from academic research

January 21, 2013

Throughout the last year, the Wales Transport Research Centre has enjoyed success with the Bwcabus project, which has given rural communities around Lampeter a fully accessible, on-demand, local bus service.

The extended Bwcabus service, celebrated its first birthday and has undertaken over 50,000 passenger journeys. The Bwcbaus expansion supported the original award winning transport system which has been changing lives for people in rural communities since August 2009.

The service is aimed at improving access to key services for rural communities, as well as addressing the decline in the use of rural bus services and providing more flexible public transport to areas with limited or no bus provision.

Research at Glamorgan

The original idea was devised by Professor Stuart Cole in response to a need to improve bus service frequency and the passenger experience in rural areas.

Following extensive research and discussions with Welsh Assembly Government officials, the concept and then the technical aspects were developed within the Wales Transport Research Centre, University of Glamorgan Business School.

Research assistant, Andrew Olden has developed the software system that allows the service to operate on demand and provide a flexible service.

The system uses some of the most sophisticated technology available to provide dynamic scheduling which reacts to the daily variations in demand patterns. This was developed with the help of GIS / GPS expertise at the University of Glamorgan and incorporates the use of satellite communication, and a computerised scheduling / booking module, mapping and GIS.

The integrated system shows how modern technology can be applied to issues such as rural public transport provision.

Working with Government

The delivery of this project has been a model for successful partnership between the University of Glamorgan, Welsh Government, Carmarthenshire County Council, Ceredigion County Council, Traveline Cymru and private bus operators. The University of Glamorgan has shown how industry, government and academia can work together to produce and implement radical ideas from concept to innovative, practical solutions.

Bwcabus has already won three prestigious awards in recognition of its success, scooping top honours for excellence in ‘Transport Policy and Planning’ at the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport National UK awards, the ‘Most Innovative Transport Project’ at the National Transport Times UK awards and Best Partnership at the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport Cymru awards.

Owen Clark, senior research fellow within the Glamorgan Business School and part of the Bwcabus management team said “It’s very pleasing to have taken Bwcabus from a piece of research all the way through to a nationally acclaimed integrated transport service. Bwcabus continues to go from strength to strength and reaching our 50, 000th passenger is a fantastic achievement. We will continue to support our partners and develop Bwcabus to become the model for the development of public transport in rural areas across Wales.”

Further information can be found on the Bwcabus website: www.bwcabus.traveline-cymru.info or our Wales Transport Research Centre site.

Tagged: Bwcabus News