South Yorkshire Transport Executive currently provides a journey planning tool for customers on its customer facing website

The journey planning tool is the fourth most popular section of the website and is accessed by customers via mobile and desktop browsers. Approximately 350,000 journey plans are made each year.

The third and fifth most used sections of the website are pages dedicated to real-time and disruption information (the most popular is the home page followed by tickets and passes).

As well as the customer facing journey planner on our website, we also have a business version which is used by our contact centre to answer approximately 130,000 journey planning-related customer contacts and enquiries every year. This version removes rich content for quick loading and a more data-focused display, helping our skilled contact centre team answer customer calls efficiently (when interacting with a customer verbally, a journey plan can be phrased in a number of different ways, where various pieces of partial information may be provided etc.).

The differences between our customer facing tool and back office tool include, but are not limited to:

Customer-facing toolInternal tool
Displays three hits to a search request - closest match, and then one journey plan either side of thisDisplays seven journey plans - closest match, and then three journey plans either side of this
Displays a timeline bar across screen that allows user to select a different date and/or time quickly
Always displays mapDefault view does not display map to user, as this is not needed to support majority of queries over phone
Timetables part of website is totally independent of journey plannerThis tool also displays information in timetable view, allows search for a specific timetable, ability to toggle all stops or summary on this timetable. Provides these timetables in "composited" format e.g. a search for 97 timetable will also return results for the 98 service (although clearly distinguished as different timetables), as these serve 90% of same stops
Each amendment to a journey plan requires a new call, and thus additional load timesOnce start and end points have been selected and journey plan has loaded, further changes to the plan (such as different dates or times) load instantly
Contains localised information - allows searches for pubs, common names for groups of shops etc. Not sure if these have been input manually on an exception basis

In addition to this we know from national and regional research that a barrier to travel is that customers cannot easily find how much their journey will cost in advance of travel.

Changes within the industry, led by Department for Transport and Transport for the North, mean that during 2020 disruption information will be improved (a move from SiRi SM to SiRi SX) and single and return fare data will be made available for the first time.

As a response to market changes, and the findings of market research nationally and locally, we are keen to be able to provide a journey planning tool that provides information to customers on how they can get from A to B easily, by their mode of their choice (including walking and cycling) , in addition to advising how much their journey will cost, where their bus / tram / train is in real-time and how long they need to wait, and if there are any disruptions along their planned journey.

By presenting all the information we know customers require in one place, using a new, tried and tested customer-led interface design, we hope that we will see an increase in users for the TSY journey planner. Research tells us that customers trust local authority information over and above other sources, so we would expect to see some abstraction of users from other tools.

Prior to this market consultation we engaged a User Experience / User Interface company to review 14 customer journeys across three of our most prominent touch points. Planning a journey on our website was one of the journeys we mapped (including how to present real-time, disruption and fare data) in order to get an understanding of how customers want to interact with this type of tool, and their expectations of the information they would see returned to them.

Internally we have also carried out a requirement gathering exercise to understand what functionality / tools key departments within the business require. Included with this paperwork is the specifications that we identified, in addition to the data sets we would like to incorporate into our future journey planning offer e.g. cycle routes.

We are now looking to work with an external supplier who can aggregate the various data sets mentioned above into one API (or alternative solution) that can help us deliver the customer flows developed by the User Experience / Interface company following that customer engagement. Please see link below.

We are also carrying out this market test on behalf of York City Council and Hull City council.

The proposed contract will run for an initial 3 year period from February 2020 to February 2023 with an option to extend for up to 2 further years with an estimated annual value of between £10k and £20K.

Companies interested in this preliminary market consultation can obtain details by clicking on the Apply button below, they will be able to access information regarding the project and the documentation and process involved in participating.

Responses to the consultation are required to be submitted by email to by no later than 4pm on 29th November 2019.

Please be advised that the Executive is a public body for the purposes of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.