Accent is recognised as one of the UK’s leading transportation research agencies, having undertaken around 1,000 studies in the transport sector. We are commissioned by a wide range of organisations – government departments, Train Operating Companies, light rail operators, bus companies, environmental agencies etc – to undertake research from the straightforward attitudinal study to more complex prioritisation and investment research for studies such as Values of Travel Time Savings and Reliability for the Department for Transport and franchise bids.
We have extensive experience across a wide range of modes including car, rail, light rail/tram, bus, coach, air, cycle, walk and maritime.
Our transport expertise includes:
- Road pricing
Accent has extensive experience in research looking at pricing for road users. This includes a series of studies for Transport for London into the congestion charging zone, the low emission zone and tolled river crossings. Accent has also undertaken a series of road pricing studies internationally including in Oman, New Zealand, Turkey, Laos, Latvia, Australia and Denmark.
Accent has conducted a wide range of ticketing studies covering the development of new tickets, fares structures, concessionary fares, zonal ticketing, mobile ticketing, Oyster and other smartcards, Carnet tickets and railcards. The research includes the use of stated preference to estimate demand for new products and replicating ticket purchase web sites.
- Environmental impacts of transport
This research area includes studies into the noise and environmental impact of an extension of the light rail system into Sydney City Centre, community severance caused by busy roads, the impact of transport schemes on the natural landscape.
- Value of Time Research
Accent is a world leader in value of time research having undertaken the design and fieldwork for a comprehensive programme of research for the UK Value of Travel Time in 2014-2015 as well as 1993-1994 UK Value of Time study. Accent has undertaken research into how mobile information impacts on the value of wait time for bus travel and similarly how mobile technology impacts the value of travel time for non-business travellers. Accent undertook research into the productive use of travel time and work time savings for business travellers on train in 2007.
- Stated preference
Accent is the leading UK exponent of the stated preference technique, a sophisticated form of conjoint analysis. The technique is universally recognised as one of the most robust means of:
- determining the key factors in the choice between competing products or services
- prioritising aspects of a potential product or service
- attributing monetary values to specific aspects of a product or service
- predicting the effect of changes in product formulation or service levels on choices between suppliers
- predicting the effect of competitive action on market share.
Given the above, the technique is ideal for assessing and monitoring the strength of preference for different products and services offered to customers. It can also enable clients to develop new products and services which fit customer requirements. Appropriate segmentation will enable the attitudes, needs and preferences of different customer groups to be identified.
The stated preference approach involves giving participants choices between different specifications of a product, service or concept. Participants’ choices between these packages provide data to make the analyses of relative importance, monetary value and predicted market share, as applicable.
- Electric vehicles
Accent has undertaken a number of studies into electric vehicles and other ‘green’ vehicles covering attitudes, impact of purchase incentives, purchase decision drivers, electric vehicle rental and impact of an ultra low emission zone on trips and vehicle purchase. Our research includes a study for the City of Paris into demand for a zero emission car rental service, Autolib; research for the Transport Research Laboratory to identify the key drivers behind decisions to purchase conventional, plug in or hybrid vehicles and research into the impact of different permutations of the ULEZ scheme for Transport for London.
Accent’s experience into cycling research covers exploring the value of travel time for cycling for the Department for Transport as part of the national Value of Travel Time study into motorised modes; monitoring the behavioural impact of Cycle Superhighways schemes for TfL and assessing demand and willingness to pay for a cycle share scheme for the City of Edinburgh Council.
- Public consultations
Accent has extensive experience of analysing public consultation responses to tight deadlines. We have analysed consultations on a wide range of issues and from a wide range of sources including postal questionnaires, letters, e-mail and telephone responses, one to one interviews and attendance at public meetings. Our experience of analysis of consultations includes the following:
- Road schemes for Highways England
- River Crossings for Transport for London
- Cable Cars for Transport for London
- Changes to Western Extension Zone for Transport for London
- The Mayor’s Transport Strategy for Transport for London
- Western Extension Zone for Transport for London
- London Low Emission Zone for Transport for London
- Extension of the Congestion Charging Zone
- Rail fares policy for The Strategic Rail Authority
Accent is a leading transport research agency in the UK. We have conducted over 300 projects in the rail sector utilising a wide range of often innovative quantitative and qualitative methods to undertake this research covering the following areas:
- Ticketing and fares
- Franchise Bid Support
- VoT and demand studies
- Rail User and customer satisfaction studies
- Segmentation research
- Rolling stock research
- Accessibility and barriers to rail use
Accent has extensive experience in the bus sector covering about 200 studies across a very wide range of research areas. Some example research areas are:
- Willingness to pay and prioritisation
- Value of travel and wait time
- Bus user and customer satisfaction studies
- Mystery shopping
- New vehicle research
- Segmentation research
Accent has developed behavioural and attitudinal segmentation models to support many rail franchise bids. We utilised a combination of qualitative and quantitative techniques.
For Irish Rail and East Coast Accent undertook studies which developed user and non-user segmentation models to help drive sophisticated understanding of motivations, product and service needs and compelling messaging. The aim was to embed loyalty (users) and effect behavioural change (non-users).
For Highways England Accent undertook a segmentation study of users of the strategic road network for use in behavioural change initiatives and product development. This segmentation is used across the business.
Typically, the segmentation research uses a multi-stage approach including:
- Stakeholder workshop
- Qualitative co-creation groups
- Quantitative segment sizing and development of Golden Questions (which can be used to identify segments for future research and market sizing)
- Qualitative refinement and bringing the segments to life
- Creation of segment handbooks.
Accent has extensive experience in this sector with clients including Highways England, Department for Transport, Transport for London, Danish Road Directorate, New Zealand Ministry of Transport.
Our research areas in this sector include:
- Value of travel time
- Congestion charging and road tolls
- Low Emission Zones and ULEZ
- Value of traffic information systems
- Roadwork signage
- Driver segmentation
- Impact of roads on local communities
- Smart motorways
- Demand for electric vehicles
Accent undertook stated preference research for the CAA to explore the information that consumers use when making a purchasing decision and the relative weight placed on different types of information. The research provided clear guidance as to consumers’ WtP when faced with new and alternative information sources.
Following this research Accent was commissioned to undertake a series of willingness to pay studies for improvement studies for major airports utilising stated preference techniques:
- T1 Service Improvements for Dublin Airport Authority to assess passengers' willingness to pay for improvements at T1.
- Heathrow Service Development to identify passengers' willingness to pay across a wide range of potential service improvements within the Heathrow Q6 Business Plan.
- Gatwick Airport commissioned research to identify passengers’ willingness to pay through airport charges for the increased level of service that their Business Plan promised.
Accent has extensive experience of research into walking including walking as a mode for various travel demand studies and multi-modal willingness to pay studies. The following are areas of expertise in walking research:
- Value of Time – Extensive exploratory qualitative and quantitative research into the value of travel time for walking – particularly challenging as there is no obvious payment vehicle.
- Town centre studies – Accent has undertaken numerous town centres studies designed to establish the contribution made by those who walk (along with cyclists and bus users) to the economic health and viability of town centres. For Transport for London Accent has undertaken six studies covering around 20 town centres in each. We have also undertaken similar work in other town centres such as Gloucester, Cheltenham, Redhill and Telford.
- Urban realm – For Transport for London a series of studies were undertaken into the urban realm. The research explored walking and urban design issues and the outcomes were used to inform business case development. The research consisted of scoping, qualitative and quantitative stages, with stated preference exercises being incorporated to determine willingness to pay improvements to the walking environment through Council Tax, rent or public transport fares. The studies also aimed to establish relative priorities for improvements to the public realm and develop an evaluation system for including public realm improvements in TfL business cases.
- Footway research – a series of studies for Transport for London into the design of walking infrastructure covering pedestrian priorities for improved pavement condition and maintenance.
- Light rail
Accent is a leading transport research agency in the UK. We have conducted over 130 projects in the light rail sector utilising a wide range of often innovative quantitative and qualitative methods to undertake this research covering the following areas:
- Ticketing and fares
- Value of travel time
- Demand for new tram or light rail schemes
- User and customer satisfaction studies
- New vehicle research.