Data Available in Northern Ireland: Public Transport Data
There are various paper-based data sources available providing information on public transport networks. In Northern Ireland, Translink has information on routes operating. Often printed timetables are provided.
Information on the bus and rail networks in Northern Ireland can be found on the Translink website or by contacting the call centre at 028 9066 6630.
Calculating journey times through a public transport network is more complicated. It is not just a matter of selecting routes served by buses and using average bus speeds as various other elements need to be taken into account, including:
- The time to walk to a bus stop/station;
- Wait time at the bus stop;
- The travel time spent on the bus;
- Interchange time (if relevant); and
- The time to walk from the bus stop to reach a destination.
Deriving public transport journey times
Currently, data and software to provide door-to-door public transport journey times is not readily available without a large degree of effort, unless special local exercises have been undertaken.
Information about railway station locations and railway lines is widely available in digital format for use with GIS. Electronic data on bus stop locations is becoming more commonplace, although databases tend to exist mainly for the larger urban areas. Alternatively, public transport operators may be able to supply information on bus stop locations. Data on service patterns and frequencies will generally be paper based and locally available. Walking times to and from rail stations and bus stops can be calculated in a similar way as described under the heading ‘Deriving walk and cycle times’.
Bus and coach statistics
Information on buses and coaches in Northern Ireland includes data on journey types for operators including Ulsterbus and Metro. Trends can be ascertained on distances travelled by vehicles, numbers of bus passenger journeys, passenger receipts, public transport support, vehicle stock and staffing. The most recent information on bus transport can be found in Northern Ireland Road and Rail Transport Bulletins and in Northern Ireland Annual Transport Statistics. Both these publications can be accessed through the Department of Regional Development website.
Rail journey planner
The Translink journey planner can be used to provide up to date travel time information between any two stations served by the NI Rail network. Service patterns and frequencies can also be derived. This can be accessed through the Translink website
Bus journey planner
The bus journey planner can also be located on the Translink website
Transport modelling software
Transport modelling packages may be used for performing routing calculations through public transport networks. For each O-D combination journey time, wait time, interchange time and walk time will be reported and can be included in journey time matrices. However setting up a transport model might be a complex and laborious task and, depending on the size of the study area, could require a significant resource commitment.
A number of software packages are available to provide information about public transport journey times. Most of these will be able to provide information on an interrogative basis providing journey details for one O-D combination at a time. These might be helpful in the case of smaller developments.