There are many different types of people that use public transport, with differing levels of understanding of, and familiarity with the public transport network.

For instance, there are regular commuters, infrequent users, unfamiliar users, and visitors. Within these groups are people with unique requirements, including the potential need for mobility or other assistance. 

Despite these variables, most people will at some point undertake pre-journey planning to seek out information about the public transport service before making their journey. People will generally wish to find out about the public transport route, timetables, ticketing and ways to get to and from the public transport service. Even frequent passengers may regularly undertake pre-journey planning by checking real-time information including the location of their bus, train, or ferry, or even public transport vehicle occupancy (crowding) levels.

Sources of information available typically include:

  • Online sources
  • Contact centre (telephone)
  • Printed material
  • Asking someone (friends, family or others) who uses the service regularly.
example of a journey planning map tool to find public transport

Example of an online journey planning tool from Metlink in Wellington

Pre-journey planning is especially important for new users and for disabled people. New users and people with accessibility requirements need to be confident that they can efficiently and safely complete their public transport journey. For some people, particularly new users, making a public transport journey for the first time may seem daunting. 

Providing better information in journey planning tools can help people make more informed travel decisions. This could include:

  • The accessibility of infrastructure at stops, on vehicles and at interchanges, including location of ramps and lifts, location of priority parking, whether there are audible announcements at stops and on vehicles, etc
  • Showing specific footpath and pedestrian crossing facilities to guide people to the most direct accessible route for them
  • Live service disruptions (road closures, on time reliability, stop closures) which helps people to adjust their travel plans accordingly
  • Stop and station security features (e.g. CCTV) and staffing times which supports people’s comfort and confidence in using public transport
  • Showing any cycle facilities along the access route to highlight where options exist for cycling to provide an attractive and safe access option to/ from public transport. 

Related guidance

‘Pedestrian characteristics’ in the Pedestrian Network Guidance