Transport Self-help kit: Providing transport services to your community

Producing a travel information leaflet

Introduction

A travel information leaflet may be suitable where there is a lack of awareness of the transport services which operate in the local community, and especially relevant when there is a perceived transport need which can be met by current transport services.

A travel information leaflet can also play an important role in educating people about how and when transport services are changing, particularly if a new service is being introduced, for example a taxishare.

Travel Information leaflets do not need to be glossy or complicated, in fact the simpler the better.  They should inform people about the transport services operating in their area, and direct people to information points where they can find out more details, such as operating schedules, fare information and any further point of contact for individual questions that may arise. The idea of a travel Information leaflet is not to reproduce the more detailed publications that already exist, like a bus timetable, but to tell people which destinations they can get to using local services and how to find out more.  If you present information in a clear and simple manner, a leaflet needs to be no more than a double-sided piece of A4 paper.

Case Study: Travel Information guide for the parishes of Mortimer West End, Silchester and Pamber

In April 2009, significant changes were made to transport services in the parishes of  Mortimer West End, Silchester and Pamber, which included some bus journeys being withdrawn and being replaced with a taxishare.

Although there were public transport services available, residents still felt there was not adequate provision.  It was felt that a lack of awareness of the current transport services that were available appeared to be an issue, so a parish-centred information guide for the area was produced.

A representative from each parish met with members of the Community Transport Team (Hampshire County Council) to plan the content and design of the leaflet.  One of the key features of the leaflet was the promotion of the new taxishare service, which was a new way of providing transport in the area.

Several drafts were circulated until all the details were felt to be correct.  This included:

  • Deciding what was not to be included
  • Consistency of information provided for each transport service
  • Amount of detail on each service
  • Overall layout of the leaflet

The content was also checked with each of the operators that ran the services listed in the leaflet, which was important as Reading Buses were about to re-brand their services.

The finished travel information guide was distributed to 1644 households across the three parishes by post using the electoral register list of addresses (‘to the occupier’ labels).  A further 1300 leaflets were produced for the parishes to distribute to other locations around the area.

What to include in your leaflet

When designing a leaflet consider who your audience is and what they will want to know.  For example, younger people may want to know when the last bus back is or how to use the text4times service, whereas a person with a disability may want the phone number for the dial a ride service so they can talk to the operator about their specific transport needs before they travel.

Most people will want to know where they can travel to and how they can get more detailed information about times and routes.  Be aware that the more detailed the information you include in your leaflet, the sooner it is likely to become out of date, therefore it is wise to signpost people to other information sources for the detail. If you have undertaken an audit of transport services, this will provide you with a list of services to include in your leaflet.

You could also consider whether it is appropriate to include information about services that travel into your community (e.g. mobile library, foot clinic).

When designing your leaflet you could also consider:

  • Working with neighbouring parishes to produce a joint leaflet if they are served by the same transport services.
  • Is the travel information leaflet a one off publication, or will it be updated on a regular basis? If so, who will be responsible for this and how will it be funded?
  • Making the leaflet easy to photocopy can be an advantage when reproducing it. Don’t go overboard by paying for the leaflet to be professionally designed and printed in colour – this will add substantially to your costs.  A simple, effective leaflet does not need fancy graphics or colour photos; you can achieve a lot using Microsoft Word or Publisher, for example.

Before publication, it is a good idea to:

  • Consult community members to make sure the information is relevant.
  • Ensure you are using Plain English, and have checked your design follows the Guidance on the layout and design of printed publications so that the leaflet can be easily understood by everyone within the community.
  • Ask someone who has a keen eye for detail and who has not been involved in the initial design process to proof check the leaflet.  If necessary repeat this process several times until the leaflet design and content is felt to be correct.
  • Check the information with the service providers or transport operators to ensure that it is accurate. You could also run the leaflet past the Community Transport Team at Hampshire County Council for their views and checking.

Example travel information leaflets and a leaflet template (see below) is available to provide you with a possible starting point in how to layout and design a travel information leaflet.

Printing

If you are getting your leaflet professionally printed the cost can vary hugely depending on whether your leaflet is colour or black and white, single sided or double sided and how it is folded.

Delivery

The cheapest way of delivering house to house is using volunteers or piggybacking on the back of a delivery which already happens, for example a parish newsletter or magazine.  More costly methods include paying for a leaflet to be delivered as an insert in a local free newspaper or using the Royal Mail Door to Door service.

Remember to include a copy of the leaflet on your parish websites, and to ask local organisations (churches, schools, shops) to display the leaflet in a prominent position.

Where to get further advice

Community and Social Care Transport Team
Economy, Transport and Environment Department
Hampshire County Council
Telephone: 01962 846785
Email:  Community.transport@hants.gov.uk
Website: www.hants.gov.uk/passengertransport

Documents and Web links

Example Travel information leaflets:

Travel Information Leaflet Template and Instructions: