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5/28/2012 - Spring 2012 Newsletter

Catch the news- our Spring 2012 update following the HITRANS Board meeting in Inveraray on 13th April 2012

Local Government Elections (New Members Induction)
This was the final meeting of the Partnership before the May 2012 Council elections and our constituent Councils will be appoining new Member representatives to the Partnership Board. Sincere thanks are extended to all our Councillor Members for their valuable contribution to and support for the activities of HITRANS since June 2007.

HITRANS Response to Draft Ferries Plan Consultation
The Partnership discussed the response submitted by HITRANS to the Transport Scotland consultation on their Draft Ferries Plan. HITRANS have emphasised the vital role ferry services play in every aspect of island life. The full HITRANS response is available to download at: -

ScotRail 2014 Franchise Consultation
The HITRANS response is available to download at:

All other rail research commissioned around the 2014 Consultation is also on our website.

Travel Information Bad Weather Alert System
£40k has been allocated towards the development of an online travel information system to provide access to live eye cameras that show congestion and weather/road conditions. The Travel Highland website will go live in 2012 offering public access to the live eye cameras and traffic information including real time bus information. Locations for live eye camera coverage include: Inverness City Centre and Arterial Routes – 8 sites at congestion hot spots, A832 Achnasheen, A835/A837 Ledmore, B9176 Struy, A941 Fogwatt, A939 – location to be confirmed.

Traveline Scotland Smart Phone Apps
The Blackberry App, funded by HITRANS and SPT through the INTERREG IVB Atlantic Area START project has proved popular since its launch on Blackberry App World in November 2011. The Windows Phone App which has also been funded by HITRANS and SPT through the START project was recently launched after receiving approval from Microsoft.

Journey Genie
Development of our itinerary and journey planner is nearing completion, with a launch planned in the summer. Steer Davies Gleave held a workshop on 23 March in Inverness attended by HIE Visitscotland, JMP and Highland Business Research, our technical advisors. A demo of JourneyGenie was run for comment.

Conon Station
HITRANS has signed a Basic Services Agreement with Network Rail enabling them to procure a GRIP5 detailed design. This provides a ready to go to tender programme with costs at +/- 10%. HITRANS has paid Network Rail £99,880 in order for the work to be carried out, using funds that were made available by the Transport Minister in March 2011. The access and road and car park design can now be finalised by The Highland Council, using £20,000 funding previously provided to them by HITRANS.

Food Port Project - Lifting the Spirit
HITRANS has submitted an ERDF bid to fund trial movements of bulk spirit by rail. HITRANS will work with distillers in Speyside to identify volume availability, location, distance from railhead, loading time, loading facilities etc. A plan will be devised for the efficient transfer of 16-20 containers of bulk spirit to move 2-3 times per week from Elgin to Central Scotland. Data from our Rail Freight Capability Study 2010 will be used to inform gauge, length and routing. True costs of the rail operation will be established, and environmental benefits calculated. There will also be resilience, performance and road maintenance benefits.

The Partnership were informed that the refreshed HITRANS website has received good feedback from stakeholders and this has been reflected by the impressive use statistics which have seen up to 10,500 unique visits per month since the new look site was introduced in October 2011.

Ferry Reservation System Analysis
The Partnership considered the Ferry Service System Booking Monitoring Report from Reference Economic Consultants. The report analysed data provided by Outer Hebrides Tourism Industry Association (OHTIA) and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar who monitored CalMac’s online reservation system. They recorded which sailings were shown as fully booked for cars, and how far in advance of the day of sailing. Having evaluated the raw data Reference have made a number of proposals on how internet booking could be improved and additional capacity could be released. HITRANS will discuss the conclusions of the work with Caledonian MacBrayne. The full report is available to download at:

2012/13 Business Plan
Our £300k research and development programme for 2012-13 was approved by the Board, including continued funding for European projects, kick start for bus services, real time public transport information and plans to assist winter resilience on local road networks.

More information can be found at


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