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Getting to the tryline: developing the England 2015 Rugby World Cup journey planner

08 December 2015

England 2015 hosted the most successful Rugby World Cup ever, using 13 venues spread across 11 different UK cities.

Due to the nature of the tournament, with increased hospitality and media areas in place, the normal transport operations had to be changed at each venue. This involved widespread alterations to car parking, public transport and park and ride services. With matches held on different days of the week and with kick-off times ranging from midday to 8pm, spectator transport demand was anything but normal. 

To support the tournament’s transport operations and communications activities, the event organiser, England Rugby 2015, recognised the benefit in developing a World Cup specific journey planner that would help inform users of their travel options in the build-up to the tournament, and provide travel guidance on match days. 

Steer Davies Gleave was commissioned to design, develop and operate the journey planner.

Developing the journey planner
Our team worked with England Rugby 2015 to acquire details of the planned transport operations for each individual match from key stakeholders, including transport operators and venue transport managers. This data was incorporated into the journey planner’s database and blended with other open source data sets (e.g. scheduled public transport data, live transport data feeds) to create the journey planner’s routing engine.

When users planned their journeys they were presented with a set of options that automatically took account of event-day road closures, exclusive shuttle bus services, dedicated walking routes and recommended parking locations. The journey options and results were accompanied with helpful messages that were devised by England Rugby 2015’s travel demand management team, e.g. to encourage users to book park and ride facilities in advance, or to warn them that particular routes would be busy at certain times.

The journey planner results could be ordered based on the transport plan for the individual venues – for some venues, public transport was the key focus, whereas for others, park and ride was of greater importance. These features, combined with the ability to provide targeted travel demand management messages meant that the journey planner was a key tool in supporting England Rugby 2015 apply their integrated transport plan effectively. 

Rugby World Cup 2015 journey planner

The journey planner’s features
The Rugby World Cup 2015 journey planner included a number of innovative features: 

  • Nationwide multimodal journey planner including bespoke event specific transport, such as park and ride or shuttle bus services
  • Industry-first home to seat planning for park and ride solutions
  • Support for road closures and dedicated walking routes 
  • Bespoke events database
  • Integrated real-time transport information
  • Integrated public transport and park and ride ticketing purchasing
  • Integrated travel demand messaging for individual modes and venues so key messages from England Rugby 2015 could reach the appropriate audience
  • Ability to save favourite journeys
  • Ability to respond to industrial action by altering the results by operator/location/station
  • Fully responsive site that worked across desktops, mobile and tablets

The results
The journey planner was very well used throughout the Rugby World Cup. Around 500,000 users generated 600,000 journey plans.

England Rugby 2015 conducted surveys after each match asking how helpful users found the journey planner. Over 90% of users consistently rated the journey planner as being either useful, very useful or extremely useful. 

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