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Collective Purchasing: the Future for Local Authority Transport Management?

Paul Everson | June 16, 2014

Tags: Local authority |

Stopo sign with a pound symbolI recently attended the Intelligent Transport for Local Authorities event in London, which was jointly hosted by ITS (UK) and the DfT.

At the event three key themes emerged:

  1. The public appetite for information shows no sign of abating
  2. ITS systems can make a difference when it comes to the inexorable rise in demand on the capacity of the already stretched networks
  3. It is far from straightforward for Local Authorities to procure (and maintain) these systems

These three topics were covered by Jackie Davies, who described a recent procurement by Bristol City Council. Despite a clear strategy to utilise ITS within the city, the council couldn’t afford to procure a system by itself; as a result, a group of both internal and external partners came together to co-fund an Automatic Number Plate Recognition / Journey Time system. Their disparate requirements were all accommodated in the resulting solution, and they share the benefits of the installed system. 

As a technology provider, this struggle against funding constraints creates an interesting conundrum: new technology can streamline operations and bring about cost savings, but finding budget is an issue.

We are increasingly seeing collective purchasing as a method used by a group of Local Authority clients.

As a few examples, Trapeze is currently upgrading the Local Authority scheduling software deployed to Leicestershire from our Routewise system to the newer, web-based Novus FX. Nottinghamshire, Leicester City and North East Lincolnshire will also benefit from this upgrade, through the reduced costs of a shared, hosted infrastructure. Additionally, Novus FX will allow these Local Authorities to work together to improve the quality of the scheduled data, thereby creating one view of ‘the truth’.

We are talking to a number of Local Authorities and Transport Partnerships in Scotland regarding a similar shared solution.

Traveline could also be seen in such light, where traditionally journey planners have only been affordable at the regional level. Trapeze is challenging this perception with our National Journey Planner – where paradoxically, a national scale solution allows us to deploy at smaller scales, where a single client doesn’t have to bear the costs of the infrastructure, data processing or software development costs.

As a technology supplier we are embracing the reality of collective purchasing. The Intelligent Transport for Local Authorities event suggests we could be seeing this sort of solution far more often in the future.

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About Paul Everson

Paul Everson is Trapeze's Product Manager (Travel Information). He has been working in public transport for 18 years and joined Trapeze in 2008. Paul says: "My role within Trapeze is a mix of product and account management, which suits my interests and skillset. I find it exciting to be part of an industry that is constantly evolving".

Read more posts by: Paul Everson