Travel planning portal scoops top innovation award

Pioneering work to develop a groundbreaking online travel planning portal has been recognised with a top award.

The Total Transport Project is being jointly run by Somerset County Council and Gloucestershire County Council and is designed to help people find and book a range of transport all from one place.

The web portal, which is still being developed, will provide an innovative journey planner for both scheduled transport (like buses) and ‘alternative’ transport (like car share and community travel) – vital in supporting communities with limited transport options.

It will also support online smart ticket and pass applications and include an original noticeboard feature to connect people with each other and the market.

The project was crowned winner of the Transportation Innovation Award at the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation SW Awards in Torquay last week.

Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, said: “This is a really exciting project because providing the public with information in this way has never been achieved before on any other platform.

“It’s still early days but I’m delighted the concept and development so far has already been recognised by a leading industry body.”

Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member for Fire, Planning and Infrastructure at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “This has been a really great example of partnership working between councils.

“Although the web portal is still in development, it is an exciting concept and will help even more people to use transport in both counties. I’m very happy for all the officers involved to have received this recognition from peers in the industry.”

The project is being funded through the Government’s Total Transport Fund initiative which awarded £305,000 to Somerset County Council and £350,000 to Gloucestershire County Council in 2015. The two authorities, which face similar transport challenges, joined forces to design a solution which could be rolled out to other regions across the UK.

Local authorities benefit by capturing data to learn more about transport need and untapped commercial demand. It also encourages vehicle sharing to reduce single-occupancy journeys and help reduce congestion and benefit the environment.

Currently still in the development stage, the Total Transport Project made significant progress in 2017 with extensive scoping and engagement, procurement and the award of the key contract for delivery.

It is hoped to launch the website to the public in spring 2019.