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1 November 2010 | PR 10/167

Study set to examine a feasible public transport solution

A three year research project at Loughborough University is now underway looking at a feasible public transport alternative to the car.

The study is being led by Dr Tim Ryley and will examine the UK’s need for a transport option called Demand Responsive Transport (DRT), which is essentially a cross between the services offered by buses and taxis. DRT offers more flexibility than the set routes taken by buses, but is more economical than a taxi by carrying more passengers.

It is the first study of its kind in the UK and it is timely against a backdrop of increasing car use and environmental and economic concerns. Dr Ryley and his team in the Transport Studies Group, based in the University’s Department of Civil and Building Engineering, have received over £300,000 from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to fund the project.

“We need to look at viable solutions that could decrease levels of car use, which in turn will have a knock on effect on reducing our carbon footprint,” explains Dr Ryley. “The project will determine the existing position of DRT across the UK; the potential demand for DRT services at a local level; the most suitable types of DRT in each of the most promising of these local areas, as well as the potential for DRT in delivering public transport services nationally. We will also consider any barriers and look at possible solutions to realising a DRT initiative.

He adds: “We need to be realistic and understand there is no point in developing alternative transport solutions to cars if they don’t work in the real world. What we want is to determine what would work, prove its worth economically to the individual and contribute to reducing the impact transport currently has on the environment. By developing a realistic understanding of attitudes and motivations in relation to DRT as a viable solution, this research could develop a real usable alternative to the car for some journeys.”

The DRT solution can be used in a range of situations such as more flexible shuttle services to airports or lifeline shopping trips for elderly people in rural locations. The research aims to find out what could make a big difference to both passengers and operators and what will allow users better access to services as well as offering increased individual mobility.

The project is due to deliver its conclusions at the end of 2013.


For all media enquiries contact:

Debbie Hughes
Senior PR Officer
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228697
E: D.L.Hughes@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

  1. Photographs are available from the Public Relations Office. Please contact Debbie Hughes.

  2. The full title of the project is ‘DRT for DRT: Developing Relevant Tools for Demand Responsive Transport. Visit the project website at www.drtfordrt.org.uk

    Dr Ryley will be working on the research project with his colleagues Dr Marcus Enoch, Dr Mohammed Quddus, Dr Lisa Davison and Dr Chao Wang.

    The study has received £373,000 of funding the EPSRC, which is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences. It invests around £850 million each year in research and postgraduate training to help the nation handle the next generation of technological change. For more information visit www.epsrc.ac.uk

  3. Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

    It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

    Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

    It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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