Public Transport Reform

Effective planning, procurement and regulation is critical to delivering people-centred public transport networks. Our harmonised approach to improving public transport networks in low- and high-income countries considers not only route network optimisation, fleet renewal and supporting infrastructure, but also the structure of the local authorities, institutions and organisations that manage the public transport networks and their vision for delivering future transport networks.

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In the UK, the National Bus Strategy means buses are firmly back on the mobility agenda following years of under-investment and with most local authorities declaring a climate emergency now is the time to re-think how these networks operate. We have extensive experience in assisting local authorities to secure funding for public transport innovation, developing improvement plans, and using different bus delivery models to support improvements to bus travel.

Our work stretches beyond the UK. We developed the Bus Reform Policy Paper for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and continue to provide practical advice to cities across the globe - from regulatory and institutional change in Ukraine, to network design in the Philippines. We look at the way that networks are planned and delivered to achieve a better service for local people, greater economic efficiencies, and improved environmental conditions.


  • Diagnosing the existing public transport arrangements. 
  • Identifying the required reform. 
  • Developing a roadmap for transport sector reform. 
  • Assisting in the creation of new regulatory body. 
  • Capacity building within existing transport authorities.
  • Operator, passengers and government consultation.
  • Assessing the benefits and costs of, and introducing, franchising and partnership schemes.
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Bus Service Improvement Plans

Following the publication of the National Bus Strategy (Bus Back Better) in March 2021, all local transport authorities were required to publish a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) to be eligible to receive Government funding to improve the bus network and create a virtuous cycle of growth and improvement. ITP was commissioned by twelve authorities to support them to develop their BSIP. This drew on our technical expertise in network development; integration and coordination; fares and ticketing; information; infrastructure; bus priority; green vehicles; and DRT. As well as developing measures to achieve a vision for bus, we also led the development of partnerships between authorities and bus operators; obtained and analysed operator data; undertook significant public and stakeholder engagement; and developed realistic targets for improvement. We are currently assisting these authorities in the development of Enhanced Partnerships (EP) to deliver the BSIPs through an EP Plan and EP Scheme(s).

Transport for West Midlands Enhanced Partnership 

TfWM wished to facilitate significant bus service improvements on two ‘Sprint’ corridors in preparation for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, and decided to use the powers in the Bus Services Act 2017 to develop an Enhanced Partnership to achieve this.

ITP was appointed as an independent organisation to develop the Enhanced Partnership in line with DfT guidance. We co-ordinated and led the development of the Enhanced Partnership Plan (based on WMCA’s Vision for Bus) and Scheme to the point where they were ready for public consultation and ultimate operator approval process. Plan and Scheme documents also covered governance arrangements and plans for monitoring. 

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CPCA Bus Services Delivery Review

The 2017 Bus Services Act provides local authorities with new powers to change the way bus services are delivered with a view to increasing passengers. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) commissioned ITP to develop a future strategy for bus services and to consider different delivery options.

This involved creating a vision for future bus services, defining the public transport network for different levels of investment, and developing comparative business cases for different delivery models including franchising, Enhanced Partnership, and Advanced Quality Partnerships. We also carried out extensive public and stakeholder engagement, and researched bus delivery models adopted elsewhere.

Comparative business cases were developed for each delivery model and we are now assisting CPCA in developing a franchising model to best achieve its vision.

Karachi Public Transport Authority 

Since 2014, ITP has played a crucial role in transport proposals to improve the liveability of one of the world’s least liveable cities – Karachi. With nearly 15 million residents, this is the largest city in Pakistan and the 12th most populated in the world. 

Working on behalf of the Asian Development Bank, we assisted the Singh government to successfully establish a new public transport authority to help plan, develop, operate, maintain and regulate mass transit systems in the Province of Sindh. Its core function is to provide safe, efficient, affordable, sustainable and reliable mass transit systems. 

Our role was to define the remit of the newly formed authority, recruit a board of directors, and develop a set of process and procedures for procuring and monitoring public transport services. The outcome of our work was the successful registration of the new transport authority - TransKarachi - in 2018. 

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Sierra Leone Transport Resilience

Following the approval of a $50million grant from the World Bank, ITP has been appointed by the Government of Sierra Leone to provide specialist expertise in the implementation of the Integrated Resilient Urban Mobility Project (IRUMP).  

Our role is to support the Ministry of Transport and Aviation to implement major reform to the urban public transport sector. This includes the formation of a new regulatory body, the formalisation of existing paratransit operators, the design of supporting ancillary infrastructure, the procurement of new bus fleets and the creation of a service plan. This work will result in two high quality public transport corridors on major routes into the city, which will provide an enhanced passenger experience, greater reliability and reduced travel times. 

Dhaka Open Transport Data

Dhaka’s rapid population and economic growth means it is a focus for mass rapid transit investment, and the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA) was established to plan and manage these new services with support from international donor banks.

ITP was appointed to work alongside World Bank colleagues to provide capacity-building support and advice to the DTCA, with a specific focus on integrating open data and evidence-based planning techniques. We shared knowledge of international open transport data specifications (GTFS) and accessibility modelling; applying open source software tools developed by our sister company Conveyal to a series of interactive training courses delivered in Dhaka.

Our work resulted in a research-quality GTFS feed for the city, and a published report that estimated current and future differences between men and women’s accessibility to key local services and jobs.

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GTFS in Metro Manila

Metro Manila’s complex network of 1,300 privately-operated passenger transport routes can seem impenetrable for the city's 22.9 million residents and visitors alike. Making sense of it all was a critical precursor to detailed transport appraisal of potential new mass rapid transit routes.

The World Bank commissioned ITP to model Metro Manila’s public transport routes using the General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) that powers Google’s online journey planning tool. We combined printed franchise data with ground-truth mapping of each bus route and key stopping points using TransitWand – a dedicated survey app developed through the project.

ITP’s work, in partnership with the University of the Philippines, informed Metro Manila’s first ever bus maps. We also built capacity among Government staff for using open source software tools to maintain the GTFS dataset and exploit it in the future. A ‘Hack-a-Thon’ with the local tech community resulted in the city’s first online journey planner, with the underlying data informing supply and demand modelling to make the case for Bus Rapid Transit line investment and major restructuring of the city’s public transport network.

Transport Analyst

Mexico City Government sought to reform franchising and service planning for Microbuses, to better integrate them with the city’s scheduled and fixed-line public transport services. Working with World Bank and Conveyal colleagues, ITP helped develop an Open Source accessibility modelling tool called Transport Analyst. It consumes General Transit Feed Specification (GTFS) and Open Street Map data to provide on-demand accessibility maps and calculations.

We worked with a community of potential software developers to agree key accessibility indicators and supported SETRAVI, the city transport authority, to raise awareness of the tool and build local capacity so it can continue to inform future city zoning and development. Transport Analyst was subsequently re-used through World Bank initiatives in Buenos Aires, and Dhaka to build local knowledge and skills on these topics.

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