Terminals & Interchanges

This measure was provided by West Yorkshire Combined Authority in 2014 under the CH4LLENGE project, financed by the European Commission.


A terminal or interchange is designed to improve door-to-door journey times involving public transport through enabling easier movement between different modes and services within a single building. An interchange is often delivered as part of wider public transport network improvements to increase public travel accessibility to employment areas, businesses and services - especially from areas of isolation. An interchange or terminal can be part of a project to unlock growth or regeneration areas. The rationale for an interchange or terminal is to improve journeys between a series of origins and destinations where existing direct non-car options are poor or non-existent.

Interchanges usually refer to the alignment and convergence of different transport modes, whilst terminal is more often association with a single mode, for example bus. 

A transport interchange is often located at a mid-point on converging transport services, whereas a terminal is usually the final destination for a number of services that join at a single node. The location of a terminal or interchange is determined by a number of factors including capacity requirements, the services to be aligned, whether it is part of a wider access improvement to an economic regeneration area, or its purpose to improve access to an urban centre.

An interchange or terminal is, on its own, unlikely to lead to significant mode shift away from private car use; its main benefits are to existing public transport users in terms of improved travel horizons and reduced door-to-door journey times. When delivered as part of wider network improvements, it has potential to have a more significant effect on mode shift away from private car use.

Capital costs for the creation of an interchange or terminal can be significant depending on location and capacity requirements, especially if rail services require realignment and significant re-engineering work. The localised impact of an interchange or terminal needs to be considered in the design phase, especially given the potential intensification of transport accessing and egressing the site, to ensure minimal negative impact, especially on residents, businesses and the environment.

Introduction

Terminals and interchanges are single transport nodes or stations where a number of public transport services intersect, providing the ability for users to switch between different transport modes and/or services with minimal delay. They are intentionally designed to ensure efficient and expedient movement between transport modes for users. They can act as a hub or node for various sub-urban and long distance services.

Terminology

Terminal – derived from the word 'terminate', a terminal refers to a single transport node where a number of services meet, usually as the final destination of each service. A terminal can be mode specific, i.e. airport/ rail/ bus/freight/coach, or include a range of transport modes. 

Interchange – An interchange specifically relates to a node or station where a number of transport services and/or transport modes converge. Unlike terminals, there is no explicit reference to being an end destination and these are sometimes located mid-way on a number of service routes. Again, an interchange can serve a single mode or several (e.g.bus/tram/rail interchanges).

Interchanges and terminals can have alternative or mode specific terms;

Transport Hub – A hub is another term for interchange or terminal where a number of modes intersect.

[Mode] Terminal – A terminal can be mode specific, referring to airport/rail/bus/coach/freight or mixed transport modes.  A terminal will usually offer the ability to change efficiently between either the same mode (i.e. aircraft or train) or different modes. A freight terminal refers to the transfer of goods between two modes, for example a rail freight terminal where goods can be transferred between rail and road haulage.  

Station - Some transport interchanges may also be referred to simply as a 'station' even though they perform as an interchange.

Description

An interchange is a purpose built transport node, designed to achieve fast and expedient transfer for passengers between different transport modes or services in a single location. The design of an interchange allow passengers to move efficiently between modes through the use of linking tunnels, bridges and corridors, often avoiding passengers having to exit the station and re-enter at a different location. They often do not require the passenger to purchase an additional ticket to travel on the secondary mode; however this is dependent on the ticketing network regulations. Terminals have a number of services terminating at a single node or 'hub' and allow passengers to either exit or change between services efficiently.

An interchange is often located midway along a number of service routes whereas a terminal usually refers to the final destination for a number of services.

A terminal can be transport mode specific - e.g. Bus or Airport Terminal, but the term is also used in reference to multi-modal stations.

Interchanges and terminals can be located in any urban or peripheral location, its locality is often governed by the objectives and capacity requirements of the node. For example, a bus terminal will often be located in or near to an urban centre, whereas an airport terminal or rail freight terminal is rarely located within a dense urban area.

Why introduce terminals and interchanges?

The rationale for introducing an interchange or terminal is a desire to improve public transport connections between a series of origins and destinations where existing non-car travel options are limited or would impose significant delay. Evidence may exist showing increased travel requirements between two locations not directly linked. An interchange may also be designed to unlock access to areas for development, or allow improved accessibility from areas of public transport isolation.

An existing range of transport services may have a dispersed series of end destinations across an urban area; therefore a terminal presents a cohesive focal point for public transport journeys.

Interchanges are usually designed as part of a series of enhancements to public transport provision. The purpose of an interchange is to reduce total journey time for people utilising a series of modes and to potentially increase mode shift through allowing a fast, efficient alternative to the private car.  

An interchange may be considered in the transport network inception phase - planned as part of wider designs, or may be retrospectively engineered where two or more transport modes previously intersected or had a close alignment.

Wider benefits of constructing an interchange include the significant potential for increased economic activity on land adjacent to the terminal or interchange due to the increased public transport offer, or if located in an urban setting, improved linkage with the urban centre.

Demand impacts

Responses and situations
Response Reduction in road traffic Expected in situations
An improved interchange experience between transport modes may present an improved journey time for public transport compared with private car, inducing mode shift and reducing car traffic. In turn, this may improve car journey times, leading to a later departure.
Localised diversions may occur with the creation of an interchange or terminal.
When linked to wider land use and urban planning projects, an interchange has potential to increase public transport journeys to new destinations, potentially replacing existing journeys.  
Favourable public transport journey times created by the interchange have potential to increase trip making.
An interchange or terminal delivered as part of wider public transport network improvements may lead to significant mode shift as journey times are significantly reduced.
Construction of an interchange alone will have minimal impact on selling the car, but if delivered as part of a series of network improvements, this could lead to longer term travel mode choices.
Unlikely to lead to spatial land use changes in the short to medium term. An improved interchange facility could actually increase accessibility to jobs due to improved journeys times, increasing potential for commuting from greater distances.
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Short and long run demand responses

Demand responses
Response   1st year 2-4 years 5 years 10+ years
Network and interchange improvements could reduce public transport door-to-door journey times.
  Improved transport network connections may lead to re-routing through improved journey times.  
  Terminals will increase the attractiveness of the area served, especially if delivered as part of wider land use planning improvements.
  Improved connectivity may increase number of public transport trips.
  Improved journey times and network accessibility may lead to mode shift.
  No impact.
  Improved accessibility may lead to improved areas.
= Weakest possible response = Strongest possible positive response
= Weakest possible negative response = Strongest possible negative response
= No response

Supply impacts

The construction of a terminal or interchange is likely to require some engineering improvements to the alignment of transport networks and therefore is likely to impact negatively on local road space.

A terminal or interchange should either be delivered as part of improvements to public transport services or act as a catalyst for improvements to the network.

Financing requirements

An interchange or terminal may have significant capital construction costs, depending on scale or size of the facility which in turn is dictated by;

  • Land take – if the interchange is located centrally in an urban area, construction costs may be significant.
  • Capacity requirements – a major terminal or interchange will require capacity for a significant number of services arriving and departing. The number of platforms/bays may be significant
  • Engineering alignment – For rail service, existing lines may require realignment to access the interchange

Expected impact on key policy objectives

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

 

An integrated network can allow for faster journey times and greater efficiency for commuters through improved transport integration.

A dedicated interchange or terminal has potential to reduce existing delays through increased capacity.  
  Potential positive impact in street-scape around interchange
  Potential influence on mode shift away from private car use and therefore air quality benefits; further environmental benefits if buses no longer wait on-street.
  May improve accessibility for areas of public transport isolation.
  Potential enhancements if buses no longer wait on-street.
  Reduced journey times improving potential access to jobs. Potential for greater investment in stations connecting with interchange and land use allocation near to interchange.
  Significant capital expenditure required for journey time savings improvement.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected impact on problems

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion

New interchanges and terminals may lead to small scale mode shift through improved public transport services.
Community impacts No impact.
Environmental damage A new terminal / interchange may lead to localised negative environmental impact due to land take and intensity of public transport (i.e. bus services accessing and egressing). Conversely any reduction in car use and avoidance of buses waiting on-street will provide benefits.
Poor accessibility Improved journey time and service integration may lead to increased accessibility to jobs and services from a wider catchment area.
Social and geographical disadvantage Improved accessibility to jobs and services may reduce disadvantage.
Number, severity and risk of accidents Potential impact if buses no longer wait on-street.
Economic growth Potential for land development adjacent to interchange and improved access to jobs.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Expected winners and losers

Winners and losers

Group

Winners/Losers

Comment

Large scale freight and commercial traffic

Freight interchanges can lead to significant mode shift away from road traffic and onto rail.

Small businesses

Potential increased accessibility to suppliers and customers.

High income car-users

No impact.

Low income car-users with poor access to public transport

Potential for improved connectivity to the wider transport network through improved interchange.
All existing public transport users Improved access to the wider transport network and reduced journey times. Interchange/terminal often delivered as part of wider transport network enhancements.

People living adjacent to the area targeted

Significantly improved public transport options, however potential impact in terms of noise, air quality and intensification of traffic.

Cyclists including children

Potential positive impact if cyclist requirements included in design (i.e. cycle access and storage).

People at higher risk of health problems exacerbated by poor air quality

Potential to reduce car use and improve air quality, however may lead to negative localised impact if designed poorly. 
People making high value, important journeys Likely to reduce journey times and improve accessibility to jobs and services.
The average car user No impact.
= Weakest possible benefit = Strongest possible positive benefit
= Weakest possible negative benefit = Strongest possible negative benefit
= Neither wins nor loses

Barriers to implementation

Scale of barriers
Barrier Scale Comment
Legal Possible legal barriers relating to land take. Some existing non-authority transport operators may be opposed.
Finance Capital finance required may be significant for building construction costs and realignment engineering work for existing services.
Governance Private transport operators may be unwilling to engage of support delivery of operations are affected negatively.
Political acceptability Cost and potential disruption impact may lead to political challenges.
Public and stakeholder acceptability Cost and potential disruption impact may lead to political challenge.
Technical feasibility Difficulties in transport service alignment, especially heavy/light rail/metro networks.
= Minimal barrier = Most significant barrier

Case 1: Bradford Interchange

Context

Figure 01

Bradford Interchange opened in 1977, hailed as one of the most innovative and advanced facilities in Europe. The interchange combines rail, bus, coach and taxi interchange on two levels. It is served by the majority of bus services in the city centre along with National Express Coaches, while the railway station, which is one of two in the city centre (along with Bradford Forster Square), is served by Northern Rail and is also the terminus for Grand Central services to London Kings Cross.

West Yorkshire has been designated a Centre of Excellence in Integrated Transport Planning and asked to demonstrate good practice in interchange design. The Interchange bus deck layout is used as an example of good practice in public transport infrastructure design.

The interchange continues to function as a key city centre terminal and interchange facility for Bradford residents, public and workers. A longer term aspiration is to create greater pedestrian linkage with the city centre and the recently opened City Park urban regeneration project to improve economic and retail activity in the centre.

The bus station design draws passengers together in one large central concourse with the bus stands grouped around it, on the 'drive in, reverse out' principle with other services using drive though stands.

User Demand

The following information is taken from a business case report provided for METRO in 2006 by JMP consultants (JMP, 2004).

Bus Passengers

The 29 bus stands are used by approximately 19,200 passengers and 1,900 buses and coaches daily. Assuming an annualisation factor of 303 gives approximately 5.8 million people using the bus station per annum.

Rail Passengers

Year

Rail Passengers (mn.)

1997/8

1.918

2000/1

1.995

2004/5

2.401

2005/6

2.483

2006/7

1.515

2007/8

1.517

2008/9

2.248

2009/10

2.297

2014/15

2.922

Source: Office for Rail Regulation (2015)

Interchange Passengers

A survey undertaken at Bradford Interchange in May 2004 identified 1057 passengers
interchanging between bus and rail in a seven hour period between 0700 and 1400 hours

Pedestrians

Approximately 25,800 people use the interchange per day to access Bradford City Centre. Assuming an annualisation factor of 303, this gives approximately 7.8 million users per annum.

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives
Objective Scale of contribution Comments
  Improves transport interchange between train and bus, creating more efficient journeys from new areas of Bradford. Facility enhanced by new bus services that commenced operation to/from Interchange. 
 

The interchange was designed to improve pedestrian access from the train station to the city centre via a pedestrian bridge (now removed).

  No information available on mode shift away from car.
  Improved accessibility to jobs and services through improved transfer between public transport modes. Significant increase in bus users.
  No impact.
  No information available to date. 
  Significant cost for construction. Ongoing maintenance and renewal costs. Ability to gain some revenue from rental space located in interchange.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Contribution to objectives

Contribution to objectives

Objective

Scale of contribution

Comment

  Achieves efficient travel between modes. Requires significant discussion with public transport operators to achieve maximum benefit.   
  Reduces bus on-street parking. Potential negative impact within locality due to intensification of bus services.
  Minimal transfer of trips away from private car journeys.
  Increase in bus travel, and should improve accessibility, but little evidence linking to other social and equity improvements.
  No measurable impact.
  Scheme needs to be developed as part of wider regeneration to realise wider benefits. Design needs to consider pedestrian access and linkage with urban centre. 
  Requires significant capital costs to deliver major improvements.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Contribution to problems

Contribution to alleviation of key problems

Problem

Scale of contribution

Comment

Congestion

No major contribution to congestion reduction in Bradford, but potential improvements elsewhere.  
Community impacts No direct impacts reported, however when combined with improved services, this should lead to improved accessibility.
Environmental damage Potential for localised negate impact during construction and potential intensification of public transport on local roads once open.
Poor accessibility Significantly improved accessibility through efficient interchange and onward connections to other areas.
Social and geographical disadvantage Linked public transport services is likely to improve access from disadvantaged areas, but it should also be aligned with other service and network improvements.  
Number, severity and risk of accidents -
Economic growth Must be aligned to regeneration projects around the interchange and/or linkage with an urban centre.
= Weakest possible positive contribution = Strongest possible positive contribution
= Weakest possible negative contribution = Strongest possible negative contribution
= No contribution

Appropriate contexts

Appropriate area-types
Area type Suitability
City centre
Dense inner suburb
Medium density outer suburb
Less dense outer suburb
District centre
Corridor
Small town
Tourist town
= Least suitable area type = Most suitable area type

Adverse side effects

Interchanges and terminals may require re-routing of existing services, with the potential for significant disruption during construction phase. They may also lead to an intensification of traffic movement in the local area, especially from taxis and private cars where passengers are being dropped off or collected.

Terminals can potentially lead to negative environmental effects, especially in relation to noise and air quality.

JMP Consulting (2004) Bradford Interchange Improvement Business Case. JMP Consulting

Office for Rail Regulation (2015). Estimates of Station Usage [online]. Available at: http://orr.gov.uk/statistics/published-stats/station-usage-estimates Accessed 23 December 2015