Strategic Context Level

Description / objective

In setting the strategic context governing development of an ITS system, policy decisions are taken about the nature of public transport provision within an urban area – its goals, targets and constraints. These cover issues ranging from general passenger transport objectives, its target users; the geographic areas to be covered; general service characteristics; system finance, including fares; the nature of economic regulation; institutional frameworks for service provision, planning and regulation; and the extent of traffic priorities. These essentially policy decisions are generally taken at extended intervals, and may reflect changes in the political administration of a city.

To a certain extent, these functional areas are already addressed by the Urban Bus Toolkit that was prepared under PPIAF sponsorship in 2006. However, decisions taken on sector finance and cost recovery define the framework for the Fare Collection Systems Toolkit, and those on public transport priorities will impact that aspect of the ITS Toolkit. The institutional framework is also likely to affect the priorities for any ITS development program, the applications covered, and the implementation process.

ITS applications

There are no direct ITS applications that help decision makers make strategic policy decisions. However policy formulation and decision taking may be informed by ITS-facilitated functions, such as travel demand data for network planning from electronic fare collection applications, and general speed and service reliability data from automatic vehicle location technologies.

Advantages and cautions

Some aspects of public transport demand are far easier to identify from fare validation data than from a full household survey. However this only reflects the number of current passengers, not including any potential travelers dissuaded by the system characteristics. It says little about detailed demand (e.g. trip purpose) and passenger characteristics (e.g. age, income) – and hence is not a totally sufficient basis for strategic planning.