National Park Authorities could provide better travel information on their websites
We’ve conducted an audit of the National Park Authority websites to see how easy it is to find travel information. The results were mixed – and there’s definitely room for improvement.
We think National Parks should be Accessible for all - and that means not just car owners. Part of making the Parks more accessible is about the provision of good public transport – which is why we’ve been working on the Bus Services Bill.
But we wouldn’t want people to be deterred from using public transport because they can’t find information on how to get to the Parks from the National Park Authority websites.
Langdale Rambler, Jo Guniver
So we’ve been conducting an online audit of each of the NPA websites to see how easy it is to find out information about getting to the Park.
Overall we were pretty impressed with how some of the National Park Authorities performed. All of them included a page about travel options and all of those travel pages mentioned public transport in some form.
Some of the particularly good examples were:
• A few of the NPAs have comprehensive online travel maps which include links to public transport websites and show people how to get to popular areas. These were really easy to use and will definitely help visitors.
• Cycling is a great activity to do in the Parks – but it’s also a good way to get to the Park as well for some visitors. We were particularly pleased to see that some Parks mentioned cycling as a method of travel.
• Some of the NPAs make it really easy to find information from their homepage about how to get to the Park.
Traffic can really impact on National Parks like this photo in the North York Moors shows
However, there’s room for improvement:
• We were really disappointed in the information the NPAs provided about how to get to their visitor centres. These are often important hubs which provide visitors with a lot of information about the Park. Of course some of the centres are in areas that are quite hard to reach, but it would be good to see the NPAs making more effort to tell people how to get there rather than just giving an address. If they provided information about cycle parking, local bus services or the nearest train station to visitor centres it would be much easier for people to get there via public transport.
• Lots of the NPAs have print versions of leaflets and maps – but why aren’t these online? They would really help visitors before they travel.
• The NPA websites are packed full of important information – however we would like it to be as easy as possible to find information about transport on their websites. For some of the NPAs this content is very hard to find.
• Just linking through to Traveline (the national public transport journey planner) isn’t good enough. For visitors that don’t know an area Traveline is hard to use. We would like to see the NPAs describe in more detail areas visitors can travel to by public transport including information about the frequency and numbers of buses and closest train stations.
We’ve sent a note to each of the National Park Authorities and hope that they’ll take on board our comments. We’ll do a follow up audit in a few months – after all we all want the National Parks to be as accessible as possible!