The introduction of a transport system in Scotland where day to day service provision is directly influenced by the demands of the public will be discussed by Aberdeen experts at a conference this week.
Key figures from the University of Aberdeen's Centre for Transport Research will highlight the crucial components involved in an overhaul of the public transport system which could involve the creation of services such as door to door bus travel and greater use of the available transport fleet.
The conference, Demand Responsive Transport: Connecting People and Places will take place in Edinburgh on Wednesday (19 November) at the city's Sheraton Grand Hotel.
The practicalities of putting a system in place which is more convenient, relevant and customised towards the needs of individuals, will be analysed at the one day event which will be opened by Scottish Government Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Stewart Stevenson MSP.
The development of the system would have a particularly strong impact in rural areas or areas with low levels of transport demand.
Presenting at the conference, Professor Nelson, Director of the University's Centre for Transport Research will discuss the components which are already in place which could make large-scale Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) a reality within the next few years.
Professor Nelson, who authored the definitive guidelines on implementing Demand Responsive Transport Services for the Department of Transport at Westminster said: "Widespread availability of Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) would mean an entirely new era for public transport which would see services created based entirely on the preferences of individuals.
"From the technological support systems to the economic framework, many of the vital components which are essential in making the introduction of DRT a success are now hypothetically in place. Technology and thinking on this subject are progressing rapidly and it is feasible that we could see provisions such as tailored bus services, which are available around the clock on our roads within a few years time."
Brian Masson, Honorary Research Fellow of the Centre for Transport Research at the University and a member of the Scottish Government DRT advisory group will also present at the conference.
He adds: "DRT would not only have massive implications in terms of improving public transport for rural communities. It would also have a potential impact on urban areas in enhancing for example late night bus services, providing feeder services to fixed line routes and improving the delivery of services for Health, Education, Social Services clients
"It is crucial that we first identity the different types of public transport demand in the various layers and areas of society. Having a clear picture of the demand which is there will lead to the development of transport services which are hugely beneficial to individuals and communities as a whole."
The Demand Responsive Transport: Connecting People and Places conference is hosted by Holyrood Conferences and Events.
Information about the Centre for Transport Research can be found at www.abdn.ac.uk/ctr