UK Dales

Yorkshire Dales User Empowerment Workshop

The Yorkshire Dales ITRACT User Empowerment Workshop was held on Wednesday 15 October 2014 at Hudson House, Reeth, as a basic computer training session looking especially at journey planners and introducing the new journey planner, ShareRoute, which has been developed in the Yorkshire Dales as part of the ITRACT project.

We placed an advert in the October issue of the Reeth Gazette to advertise the User Empowerment Workshop. We also put posters up in Hudson House, the Reeth community centre, library and tourist information centre.

We prepared a basic guide to using journey planners and ticket booking websites, to be given out to people who attended the User Empowerment Workshop, so that they could follow up on what they had learned at home. The guide was aimed at showing people the most important information and controls on popular journey planning websites, to make them easier to use.

The event was run by Julie of Quick Start IT, and Ed Beale of West Yorkshire Combined Authority. Between us we brought a variety of laptop and tablet devices for people to use. The event was held in the computer room in Hudson House, where there were also four Windows 7 desktop computers for participants to use. As a drop-in session, the event was tailored to the needs of each person who attended. At the end, the participants were shown the pilot version our new journey planner ShareRoute and we sought their feedback about whether they would find it useful.

We found that the people who attended the User Empowerment Workshop either did not use computers or occasionally used the public computer in the library. Their computer skills level was low or zero. Therefore they were mainly interested in the absolute basics of using a computer and/or the internet. Most were interested in taking their learning further and were interested in other computer courses happening locally. We were able to point them to a voluntary organisation in Richmond who run occasional computer courses.

Yorkshire Dales ShareRoute Pilot Testing

In the Yorkshire Dales the ITRACT project runs alongside the Connecting the Dales project of the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance (DITA). As part of the Connecting the Dales project, DITA has set up ten transport Hubs. These are local community facilities where members of the public can find out transport information and make transport enquiries. Several of the Hubs also manage a community transport operation using volunteer drivers and a car or minibus, to meet local transport needs that are not met by scheduled public transport.


ShareRoute is a software package that has been developed with funding from the ITRACT project. ShareRoute provides a journey planner incorporating demand responsive, community transport and taxi options alongside scheduled public transport. It enables Hub managers and members of the general public (through a web interface) to plan journeys that include a mixture of scheduled and non-scheduled transport, and as well as giving options to complete the whole journey by one or the other if available.

The ShareRoute journey planner


ShareRoute enables registered users to book trips by volunteer car, community transport or taxi, and to easily see and manage the trips they have booked. It also enables the operators of those services to accept or reject booked trips, and to manage their booked trips.


The ShareRoute Pilot aimed to test the five Apps provided within the ShareRoute software package, with two target groups: (a) Hub managers, and (b) community transport operators. The aim is to find out whether the system will be useful for them (a) for helping members of the general public who come into the Hub with information requests and to book trips, and (b) for managing the community transport operations.

ShareRoute for Smartphones


Each Hub manager was visited during the pilot testing to test the software one-on-one. The pilot testing phase went smoothly due to extensive testing of ShareRoute with feedback passed back to the developer to improve the software before the pilot testing started. Also, it was useful to prepare the Hub managers through the two Hub Workshops before the pilot testing began, so that they knew what to expect. Using Hub managers as the pilot testing group was a good choice because they all have extensive experience with journey planners and responding to transport enquiries from members of the public.

Andi Chapple, Hub manager at Sedbergh Hub, testing ShareRoute


Overall, Hub managers scored the software as satisfactory, and good in some respects. Most felt that further development of the software would be worthwhile, though one Hub manager sounded a cautionary note, saying that “I also worry that it might be a bad idea to try to replace organic, human networks of information and exchange, which are cost-free and indeed add value to the rural society in which they operate, with a technological solution…”. On a similar note, other Hub managers commented that their volunteers tended to know about all the transport available locally, so that the need for ShareRoute within the Hubs would be limited to the more complex enquiries for travel outside the immediate geographic area. The future of the pilot will be dependent on finding ongoing funding, and this will be a key area of work for the remaining months of the project.

Katy Penn, Hub manager at Pateley Bridge Hub, testing ShareRoute

Yorkshire Dale Hub Dashboard Pilot Testing

In the Yorkshire Dales the ITRACT project runs alongside the Connecting the Dales project of the Dales Integrated Transport Alliance (DITA). DITA and ITRACT have set up two pilot bus information screens, which can also show additional information (“Hub Dashboards“).


The Hub Dashboards are based at two of the ten DITA Hubs, Leyburn Tourist Information Centre, and Grassington National Park Centre. At both of these locations, there are a number of bus services with interchange possibilities, and there is also a community facility (the Hub) nearby where the screen could be sited.

The Hub Dashboard screen at Grassington National Park Centre, with Ann Wild, Grassington Hub manager


The Hub Dashboards are designed for use by the Hub managers and general public to easily see when the next bus departures are, and also display other useful local transport information, such as information about the DITA Hub, DITA‘s One Way £1 fare scheme, and any relevant local disruption information (this was used on the run up to the Tour de France cycle race which passed through both Leyburn and Grassington, for example).


The Hub Dashboard Pilot aimed to test the Hub Dashboard App with two target groups: (a) Hub managers and (b) public transport user representatives on the DITA Advisory Council. The pilot test sessions took the form of one-on-one feedback sessions about the screen for Hub managers, and an emailed questionnaire (with some background information) for the public transport user representatives. The goal was to help understand how useful The Hub Dashboards are to the people who deal the transport requests and operations on the ground in the Yorkshire Dales, and normal public transport users, and to guide future development and expansion of bus information screens in the Yorkshire Dales.

The Hub Dashboard at Leyburn Tourist Information Centre, with Martin and Alix Crowson, Hub managers


Test participants rated the screens overall as good. The feedback indicated that the screens are seen as useful but that improvements are required, particularly with regard to the siting of the screens closer to the bus stops, and also to the information displayed. There is also concern about the future of the screens beyond the end of the project as they are currently expensive to run. A cheaper software solution may enable the Hub Dashboard screens to have a more secure future.

Yorkshire Dales Business Innovation Workshop

The Yorkshire Dales Business Innovation Workshop was held on Tuesday 4 November 2014 at West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) in Leeds, to introduce and demonstrate the ShareRoute software pilot developed by the ITRACT project to a range of journey planner, real time information, data and software experts from the passenger transport authorities and transport operators across the Yorkshire region. 14 people attended the workshop. Lawrence Cocker of Data Images demonstrated ShareRoute’s trip booking functions, and Ed Beale of West Yorkshire Combined Authority demonstrated the journey planner. After the demonstrations we sought feedback.

The journey planner and real time information experts of the Yorkshire Partnership thought that ShareRoute was a very good concept and gave us a lot of useful comments to improve the software, for how to market it to different customer segments and about sources of revenue. However, they were concerned about how the software would be funded and developed in the longer term.

Skipton meeting and MidTerm conference June 4-7th 2013

June 4th. Partner invitation

John Carr: Welcome to the Dales.

Theo Miljoen: WP1. Overall status since Stavanger meeting and reporting issues. Indicator feedback have to improve.

Wiboud Prins:  Next report is due 3 weeks after October 1st. 

Hugo Velthuijsen: 

Jan Frick: WP2. Status and to-does. Expect frequent requests for content to website and newsletters starting June 2013.

Niklas Johansson: WP3. Status and to-does. Business Innovation workshop in all regions due September-November 2013: Demonstration of service, Analysing thr service as a business using the nine building blocks, Design a conceptual business Model ogf the service, Formulate what to do within the project and beyond…..    

Jacob Mulder WP4. Status and to-does. Now 9 building blocks (but No8 is cancelled) Plattform is now powerful, and it is up to regions to use it.

Dirk Strijker: WP6. Status and to-does.

Julie Benra: WP5. Status and to-does. Usability test document and Organisational test document

June 6th:  Thursday Agenda

Tour to see the Dales and its transportation challenge.

Lectures about the APPS under development including demonstration of prototypes.


Lecture about Yorkshire Dales, transportation, and importance of voluntary work to enable  public access to the Dales. By Colin Speakman.

June 7th Friday Agenda

Marianne Besselink from Provice Groningen lectures about the decreasing population problem of the dutch rural areas. Government action or bottom-up citizen enablement.?


Oldambt case was presented. 45% of rural area have low internet connectivity. In the provice of Groningen this afflict 19000 families of 249000 families.

Ilse Marien from Free University of Brussels: Empowerment of Users.


Peter Radcliff, Metro: Learning from urban experiences.

34000 busstops in "YourNextBus". Real Time Information System.   450 000 web visitors a month.

Chris Gibbard, Transport Direct: What to learn from Olympics?

Peter Stoner, Traveline:  Loads of Data, how to use it?


Technology led or user led? Crowd helping?

Service innovation workshop results.pdf

UK Dales


Little Red bus ITRACT web site

Dales Service Innovation Workshop 

Partner Invitation and Registration for Project Meeting and Mid-term Conference, Skipton 4th-7th June 2013

Next event:  Midterm conference, June 4,5, 6, 7 2013, Skipton (UK)  


Reaching the Frontiers:

Improving Connectivity in Remote Regions


The mid-Project Conference of ITRACT

(Improving Transport and Accessibility through new Communication Technologies)

Supported under the Inter-reg IVB North Sea Programme of the European Regional Development Fund

Thursday and Friday 6th-7th June 2013

the Rendezvous Hotel

Keighley Road, Skipton, North Yorkshire



Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales

Hotel:   The Rendezvous Hotel is near to Skipton Town Centre, bus services and taxis.  They are a conference hotel with full facilities able to accommodate the numbers we are thinking of.  Other hotels in Skipton or other nearby centres could not accommodate more than 30 or so.  Harrogate is a commercial conference centre with a choice of large hotels but further from the Dales.  Alternatively we could enquire about the facilities of Craven College, the further education (16 plus) institute based in Skipton but this may not be available until July.

 Getting to the Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton

     good rail links via Leeds, then short walk to Skipton Bus Station and bus towards Keighley or taxi

     reasonable train connections are available from the airports at Manchester, Newcastle, London Stansted and all other London Airports

      Leeds/Bradford Airport is also near with bus connections into trains at Shipley, Bradford or Leeds

      Ferries from Rotterdam come to Hull from where the M62 Motorway to Leeds and the A65 bring you to Skipton.


Please use Transport Direct (UK national multi-modal journey planner) at for further details.  John Carr ( will also be happy to offer advice and help based on flight times.


Tuesday 4th June

Participants from ITRACT partners arrive at Rendezvous Hotel, Skipton.

Evening meal available for everybody from 19:00.

Project Steering Group will meet during evening
(agenda to be confirmed by Theo Miljoen).

Networking time!


Wednesday 5th June

ITRACT Partner Meeting

09:00 – 18:00 Lunch and refreshments included (Agenda to be circulated separately).

19:00 Evening meal

Networking time!

Thursday morning(6th  June): study visit and Dales introductory tour to Little Red Bus (Logical Transport presentation and demonstrations, possibly organised in two parties one to LRB direct then Dales and vice versa)

Thursday afternoon:  Conference opening (by WYITA Chair or Metro Director?), ITRACT Presentations and Progress Report, DITA Presentation and Progress Report, European Community and UK Department for Transport inputs?

Thursday evening: Conference dinner (Transport Minister or Leader of County Council to speak briefly welcoming delegates)

Friday(7th  June): Conference sessions on ICT for Transport, Tourism etc. from UK and European sources

Conference close by 4pm.


Weekend: Delegates will be  encouraged to spend the following weekend in the Dales –DITA could offer a guided round trip on Saturday, by rail to Garsdale (the famous Settle-Carlisle railway), bus(es) through Wensleydale returning via Ripon, Nidderdale and A59 to Skipton.  This trip would take in all of transport, ITRACT pilot, natural and historic environments.

Thursday  program

Friday program 

© Jan Frick 2014