case study
Published: 31 August 2018

Knowledge Transfer Partnership: Surrey County Council

Surrey County Council has collaborated with Surrey Business School, and the Department of Marketing and Retail Management, to work on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which aims to increase bus patronage in Surrey by using data analytics.

Main objectives of the project

  • An overall reduction in bus subsidies by increasing bus patronage
  • Embedding market research methods and skills within Surrey County Council therefore empowering them to apply this knowledge to better meet public demand
  • To promote a change in culture at Surrey County Council toward greater use of digital data to inform decisions about bus service provision
  • Long-term impact on reduction in carbon emissions subject to reduction in car use over time.
  • SCC aims to save £2m from the £8m bus budget by 2019 without reducing the network.

To achieve these objectives, a research associate is working with the SBS team and Surrey County Council’s local transport team to co-produce new insights that are of direct value for the Council.

By establishing a close working relationship between the SBS team and staff at Surrey County Council, the KTP researcher will have a direct opportunity to train transport officers in market research methods and analytics methods. These skills will include constructing surveys, preference elicitation, focus groups, qualitative data analysis as well as basic statistical analysis and the use of database tools.

The potential impact of the project

  • Benefits for local businesses – bus operators. Greater use of data offers great profitability for local bus operators who can use data to make improvements to services and secure more paying passengers as subsidies are reduced
  • Change in culture at SCC and in county councils more widely, toward greater utilisation of data for decision-making about transport and improvements to buses in particular
  • Pressure on public finances in recent years has led to reduction in bus services, and the recent cut in government subsidy would reduce bus provision further. The project should generate more fee-paying customers and replace subsidy as well as retain services which will be more responsive to demand
  • Benefits to passengers through reduced need for car use and more transport choice
  • Potential reduction in carbon emissions in cities and towns in Surrey – subject to access to data from Surrey sources. Data would provide evidence of positive impact on environment. Possible longer-term impact potential

Benefits of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships

Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are designed to benefit all partners involved:

  • Company partner: acquire new knowledge and expertise; transform the business; create around two new jobs; increase annual profit; access University’s facilities
  • KTP associate: lead a strategic project; gain fast-track industry-based work experience; undertake significant personal and professional development opportunities
  • University academics: stimulate and enhance the business relevance of their research and teaching, develop impact case studies and produce publications.

About the sponsor  

Innovate UK is the UK's innovation agency, working with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. KTPs have been helping businesses to innovate and grow for more than 40 years, linking a university and a graduate to work on a specific project, bringing creativity and a fresh mindset to a UK company.