The portal (www.transportdirect.info) provides all the information a traveller needs for any journey, by any mode, or mixture of modes of transport within Great Britain. This includes:
- complete and step by step directions for [door-to-door journey options by car and by public transport
- quick Planners to find a train, coach and flight
step-by-step driving directions for car journeys, with journey times on strategic roads that reflect previously recorded traffic levels
cycle planner to provide cycle routes across Great Britain
find cheaper rail fares – find out what fares are available for a route and then find the journeys associated with those fares
- maps of journeys showing each individual stage, and interchange points
- find nearest station/airport or car parksearch and plan journeys to and from it
- tools to modify or extend a journey plan and to replace a section of a public transport journey plan with a car plan
- ticket prices for rail and coach journeys and link to e-retailers to seamlessly buy tickets for the chosen journey
live travel information for Britain’s rail and road networks
- indicative costs for car journeys based on a number of factors, such as approximate fuel costs specific to the size and engine type of the vehicle or CO2 emissions
get access to park and ride information and journey planning for over 50 towns and cities across Britain;
- mobile phone access to Transport Direct services such as live travel information and the planning of simple rail and bus journeys
Door to door journey planner
The core feature of the Transport Direct Portal is the door-to-door journey planner. A world first, this plans journeys from door to door using all feasible means of public transport anywhere in Great Britain; at the same time it can plan the journey by car, allowing the user to compare car and public transport journey options.
Once the journeys have been planned:
- the costs of the journey options can be provided as can the CO2 emissions
- tickets can be purchased from online retailers (through an automated hand-off) or telephone numbers provided for telephone-based retailers
- The route, or individual sections of it, can be displayed on a map
- calling points for a service can be displayed
- all information can be printed in order to provide an informative itinerary to take on the journey
When connecting people to places, it is important that users can find their journey origin and destination from appropriate gazetteers or directly from the map. Transport Direct has created a rich set of gazetteers, based on postcodes, addresses, transport locations, places and even local attractions.
In many cases, the traveller may only want to find out about part of a journey or travelling options using specific modes. Consequently, Transport Direct provides a range of modal journey planners:
- find a train
- find a flight
- find a car route
- find a coach
- find a bus
- find a cycle route
Live travel information
Underpinning Transport Direct is comprehensive provision of live travel information, sourced from authoritative sources and recognised intermediaries.
The live travel news is updated every 15 minutes and can be filtered by:
- region/all of Great Britain
- public transport/road/all types of transport
- major/recent/all delays
- incidents/road and rail engineering works/all types of travel news
- all road or public transport incidents can also be displayed on a map for geographic referencing
Transport Direct also provides links to up-to-the-minute arrival and departure information for rail, bus services (where provided) and flights from the definitive sources such as National Rail, Transport for London, bus service information providers and airport operators.
Car parking and park-and-ride information
Planning a car journey from door to door is straightforward when there is readily available on-road or off-road car parking. However, this is not always the case. Much more useful would be to plan to the nearest car park (within walking distance of the destination) or to a park-and-ride service and complete the journey by public transport.
Transport Direct has car park information for over 10,000 car parks, covering major towns and cities across Great Britain, and the range is being constantly expanded.
Using the “find nearest car park” service, the user can now find the nearest car park to their destination and also get information on costs and opening times. Car parks are also shown on Transport Direct’s maps, enabling journeys to be planned to and from these locations.
Transport Direct also has park-and-ride information for many cities, with details on cost and opening hours. The “plan to park and ride” service plans car journeys to and from the best park-and-ride location for the direction of travel to that city.
Calculating carbon emissions
Transport Direct launched a car “carbon calculator” at the end of 2006, which is believed to be another world first. This feature enables the user to calculate the amount of CO2 emitted for a specific journey planned on Transport Direct, taking account of predicted levels of congestion on the roads and so enabling greater accuracy in the calculation of the emitted CO2.
In April 2007, Transport Direct launched an equivalent public transport carbon calculator. This enables users to find out how much CO2 is emitted from their specific public transport journey and compares this with car and other modes of transport.
It should be noted that comparing car CO2 with public transport CO2 is not comparing like for like, where the predicted CO2 emission for a:
- Car journey is based on a specified number of occupants
- Public transport journey is based on an estimate of the number of passengers
Transport Direct recently developed the London 2012 Olympic spectator journey planner which was based on the original Transport Direct back office.