This essay aims to cover the concept of integrated systems, their nature, implementation and an outlook of Londons integrated transport system. This is a multi-faceted topic that involves a lot of aspects. However, the key components include: the composition of an integrated system, its actors and how it is implemented. The implementation component deals with how the bodies charged with this responsibility have been able to deal with demand, how planning has been effected, the collaboration between different actors to provide one interconnected transport system.
An integrated system has the following facets: service quality, a diverse model for incorporating the different transport systems, harmonizing schedules and fares. It also means putting up the relevant structures required to facilitate a cohesive transport system. This integrated system promotes rapid transport of a large mass of people and saves on time and cost. Integration tends to have two aspects to it, the horizontal and vertical solutions. The horizontal aspect entails consolidating different forms of transport while the vertical aspect includes the intertwining of transport with governing bodies such as transport authorities (Preston, 2012). Integrated transport systems aim to create a seamless experience for the traveller and the various actors involved in the provision of such services. These systems also have to run parallel to environmental, social and economic policies. Also transport and land have to be integrated for example, Kent Thameside in the United Kingdom. Furthermore, they help prevent wasteful competition, network failures and congestion (Preston, 2012).
For an integrated transport system to be fully operational, different elements of policy have to be put in place to implement it. For example, political lobbying for such a system is an important to formulate legislation that will put the required frameworks in place for the systems. Secondly, operators have to collaborate and come up with a united system that eliminates waste in terms of resources and competition. The UK integrated systems did not come into full throttle until the Labour Party regime took over government in the period of 1997-1998. This was enabled through the Transport White Paper of 2011 that recognised the importance of integration and land planning with regard to transport. Land us proved important in determining the nature of peoples travel and destinations. For instance, if a station in designed in such a way that is it is a park and ride, then more often than not, it is surrounded by acres of tarmacked roads which leave little room for cyclists and pedestrians (Life, 2011). The London situation has thrived because of the collaboration between the local authorities and the transport bodies.
London can be considered an integrated transport system due to a variety of reasons. First of all, it has a combination of private and public services. Transport for London is executed by the chief transport agency which is Transport for London (TfL). This system includes underground railroads, trams, light railways, docklands and over ground systems. Additionally, there are airports both local and independent and include Heathrow Airport which is one of the worlds largest airports in the world. Another potent example is the intercity services that provide train services to particular parts of the country. The Oyster smartcard is used by millions of travellers in Britain to swipe in and out of various forms of transport. This card is evidence of the integrated transport systems in place and enables the user to plan their journey as well as have access to consolidated fares and schedules. Other than that, the introduction of intelligent systems such as the pay and wave payment technology has eased transit within London and has gradually replaced the Oyster card. This has seen a decline in the use of private vehicles which has proved beneficial in reducing congestion within London. This system is unique and exclusive to London as other localities are reluctant and obstinate about adopting it. The individuals journey is made easier through online journey planners that incorporate how the person will navigate all forms of transport. This saves on time and cost. The cycle hire scheme has seen the emergence of the integrated mainline rail and underground systems. Lastly, different operators have a similar system that helps in eliminating confusion, for instance, the bus system (Shankleman, 2013)Summarily, integrated transport systems require collaboration between various actors in order to realize successful implementation. The Local authorities have to adopt intelligent systems that will ease the movement of large masses of people without causing congestion.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Life, T. F. Q. o., 2011. Integrated Land Use and Transport Planning, s.l.: PTEG.
Preston, J., 2012. Integration of Seamless Transport, South Hampton: International Transport Forum.
Shankleman, J., 2013. Public Transport gets Smart. [Online] Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/public-leaders-network/2013/jan/09/centro-public-transport-travel-systems[Accessed 8 February 2016].
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