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22 Oct 2002 : Column 161W—continued

Community Railways

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions have taken place with the railway industry on the directives on (a) European Rail Agency Interoperability and Safety and (b) the Development of Community Railways being discussed within the European Parliament; and if he will place related documentation in the Library. [76191]

Mr. Jamieson: Many railway industry parties responded to my Department's consultation exercise on the 2nd railway package, which ran from May to 23 August 2002. Copies of the consultation document and the replies (excluding those from respondents who have requested confidentiality) are being placed in the libraries of the House. In addition, my officials have participated in a number of seminars on these proposals organised by the industry and have held discussions with individual parties.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what submissions have been made by his Department to the (a) European Commission and (b) European Parliament on the Directive on the Development of Community Railways being discussed within the European Parliament; and if he will place copies in the Library. [76192]

Mr. Jamieson: No written submissions have been made to the European Commission. However, Ministers and officials from my Department participate on a regular basis in Council meetings convened by the Presidency to discuss these elements of the Commission's proposed Second Rail Package. The European Commission is represented at those meetings

My officials provided written briefing to UK Members of the European Parliament on these proposals in April, July and September 2002. I will arrange for these sets of briefing to be placed in the libraries of the House.

Strategy and Work Programme

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps have been taken to implement the DVO Blueprint Strategy and Work Programme; and what assessment has been made of its implementation. [76488]

Mr. Jamieson: We have begun a programme of work to take forward the DVO Blueprint Strategy. This programme includes around 40 IT projects which will help to meet the government's e-business targets for

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2005 by providing drivers and operators with new electronic services such as, for example, the opportunity to re-license their vehicles using the phone or the internet. Progress on this programme of work is monitored and reported regularly. We will also be conducting extensive research with our customers to ensure that these new services continue to meet their requirements.

Transport Direct

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to disseminate findings from market research to support Transport Direct. [76487]

Mr. Jamieson: The current programme of market research to support Transport Direct is being completed. The results of these will be published by the within 2 months and will be available on the department's website. (http://www.dft.gov.uk/itwp/transdirect/index.htm)

A further research project is planned which will look at usability aspects. The usability of a website can be judged by looking at whether the content is useful to the website user; and whether it is easy to use the website, in terms of how the content is presented and how the information is structured

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will list the research projects which have been, are being, and are planned to be conducted by and for his Department related to Transport Direct. [75612]

Mr. Jamieson: There are two main themes to the research being carried out by Transport Direct, those that directly support the Transport Direct programme, and others where we provide a supporting role to other organisations, which will help provide the ambitions of Transport Direct.

We are currently undertaking a programme of market research to support Transport Direct. This will inform us on what features and specific characteristics the service should possess from the point of view of the public. The results of these will be published within the next 2 months and will be available on the department's website. A further research project is planned which will look at usability aspects. The usability of a website can be judged by looking at whether the content is useful to the website user; and whether it is easy to use the website, in terms of how the content is presented and how the information is structured

The results of previous research can be found on the Department's website http://www.dft.gov.uk/itwp/transdirect/index.htm. These include a review of existing traveller information system and a project looking at how cycling can be incorporated into journey planners.

The work on providing a business case for bus real-time is continuing, the business case will quantify the benefit of such systems. Recommendations for the business case are due for completion within the next 2 months.

Transport Direct also has research work to support traveline and Journey Solutions. Work done by these organisations will contribute towards the goals of Transport Direct.

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Current Research

Traveline: Customer research into current and future service specifications

This research project is assessing issues that traveline may need to address to ensure effective delivery to the customer. This includes an assessment of extending the future minimum opening hours for traveline; identifying the requirements for existing traveline customers; and establishing the extent of information that needs to be given by traveline if we to encourage greater use of public transport, among public transport users and non-public transport users.

Planned Research

Standard of Trunk Journey Solutions provided by traveline and associated costs.

The Department for Transport wishes to assess the extent to which the national requirements placed on traveline for the provision of trunk service information (i.e. data about the national rail and coach network) have been achieved. The requirements state that the traveline system must provide answers that are consistent with the information provided by the respective national trunk service information providers (i.e. Go By Coach, Scottish Citylink and National Rail Enquiry Service).

PlusBus Integrated Ticketing

Train and bus companies have been working together (under the umbrella of an organisation called Journey Solutions) to deliver a national integrated rail/bus ticket, known as the Plusbus Scheme. The principal aim of the research will be to measure awareness of PlusBus; examine customer satisfaction with the product; critically review each step of the PlusBus journey; test effectiveness of promotional components; confirm target market; and measure impact on travel patterns. The work will contribute to the Department for Transport understanding about multi-modal ticketing—one of the Transport Direct strategic objectives.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what work has been undertaken on the Transport Direct business plan. [76198]

Mr. Jamieson: Sufficient background work on the travel information and retailing internet service Business Plan has been undertaken to enable preliminary discussions to be held with stakeholders, including transport providers, existing information providers and representative groups. These discussions are now underway.

Traveline

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps have been taken with regard to contracting market research relating to the future direction of the Traveline service. [76200]

Mr. Jamieson: The Department for Transport is providing a supporting role to traveline and has agreed to fund and manage two research projects.

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The first research project is underway and is assessing issues that traveline may need to address to ensure effective future delivery to the customer. This includes an assessment of extending the future minimum opening hours for traveline; identifying the requirements for existing traveline customers; and establishing the extent of information that needs to be given by traveline if we to encourage greater use of public transport, among public transport users and non-public transport users. Recommendations on changes to the future traveline service following research will be examined by traveline.

The second project is planning to look at the standard of trunk journey solutions provided by traveline and the associated costs. The Department for Transport wishes to assess the extent to which the national requirements placed on traveline for the provision of trunk service information (i.e. data about the national rail and coach network) have been achieved. The requirements state that the traveline system must provide answers that are consistent with the information provided by the respective national trunk service information providers (i.e. Go By Coach, Scottish Citylink and National Rail Enquiry Service). The traveline parties will address recommendations following research.

Mr. Don Foster: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what changes and improvements have been made to the Traveline website during 2002; what additional changes are planned; and by what date changes are planned to be implemented. [76199]

Mr. Jamieson: Traveline regional journey planners for East Anglia, London and parts of the North West have been added to the traveline website during 2002.

It is expected that the traveline journey planners for the South East, East Midlands, South West, Scotland and Wales will be added to the traveline website by December 2002.

A journey planner for the West Midlands and a journey planner covering the remaining parts of the North West will be added in 2003.

A merger of the traveline website and a website that offers a comprehensive index to public transport information sites has been started during 2002 and will be completed in early 2003. The combined site will maintain the existing traveline web address and branding.


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