Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

ITS at TravelHackII and software events, past and future

Two ITS staff, Robin Lovelace and Ian Philips, attended the TravelHackII event hosted by ODI Leeds.

Robin's hack was Pedal, Park, Cycle: an online toolkit to identify where authorities - and potentially bus operators - should prioritise cycle parking near bus stops to increase public transport use, reduce congestion and increase operating revenues.

A 'repo' with reproducible code demonstrating the method was produced and is available at the code sharing website An image of the data generated for the event, showing routes into Leeds city centre where car trips could be replaced by cycling and then catching the bus - if proper infrastructure is provided - is shown below.

Ian's hack was on improving public transport apps, as shown below.

This hackathon follows hot in the footsteps of Robin's course on R for Spatial Analysis, which was a hit with ITS students and PhD students alike - slides from the course can be found here.

If you missed the course but still want to learn about data science software for spatial analysis and processing large transport datasets, there are many upcoming opportunities, including:

  • GIS for Transport Applications (GIS4TA), supported by the Royal Geographical Society's Transport Geography Research Group (TGRG). To register for this two day free event, 16 - 17 November, sign-up on Eventbrite.
  • R for Transport Applications, a collaboration between ITS and the Leeds Institute for Data Analytics (LIDA). This is the second time the course will run following its launch in 2017 - it teaches the open source data science software R for handling large transport datasets over two intense days, 26 and 27 April 2018. See the course on the University's web store for more information.

Data science is an increasingly important skill in transport research, and underlies recent publications by ITS staff including a paper exploring the impact of the London Congestion Charge of vehicle fleets (Morton et al. 2017) and an ongoing project funded by the Department for Transport which has become part of government legislation (the Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Strategy) that is being used by many local authorities and consultancies to make investment in cycling infrastructure more evidence-based (Lovelace et al. 2017).


Morton, C., Lovelace, R., Anable, J., 2017. Exploring the effect of local transport policies on the adoption of low emission vehicles: Evidence from the London Congestion Charge and Hybrid Electric Vehicles. Transport Policy 60, 34–46. doi:10.1016/j.tranpol.2017.08.007

Lovelace, R., Goodman, A., Aldred, R., Berkoff, N., Abbas, A., Woodcock, J., 2017. The Propensity to Cycle Tool: An open source online system for sustainable transport planning. Journal of Transport and Land Use 10. doi:10.5198/jtlu.2016.862