Variable Price Attribute Transport System Minibus

Variable Price and Attribute Transport System (VPATS)

The study examined new forms of road transport, combining aspects of a taxi with those of a bus, with a pricing system designed to favour people on lower incomes so as to reduce transport inequality without the need for increased subsidies.

It was commissioned by Tech4All in 2006 from the University of the West of England in collaboration with the Loughborough University, and the report was published in three parts in 2007.

About the Project

In 2019, Tech4All conducted a preliminary feasibility investigation for practical implementation of the system, in discussions with Milton Keynes Council and a major global mobility firm. This was suspended as a result of Covid but Tech4All remains committed to further development, as and when appropriate technology, licensing and finance become available.


uwe Bristol university of the West of England logo
Centre for Transport & Society logo
Loughborough University logo


Tech4All sponsored this research in order to investigate whether modern technology could create a radical improvement in the availability of high-quality transport services for disadvantaged groups, at low or zero incremental cost to the taxpayer, and in a way which fosters integration of disadvantaged and better-off users.

The broad aims of the study are:

To conduct a re-analysis of the demand and supply of road public transport services, to test the hypothesis that higher-technology, more flexible approaches to transport provision would better meet the needs of the travelling public, including the poor
To consider the operational feasibility of any alternative transport systems, particularly in terms of resource costs
To consider feasibility more generally, including any specific implications for the poor


Work to date has been conducted through desktop feasibility studies, although informed where possible by real world knowledge of transport economics and transport systems. The study is primarily focussed on the needs of urban travellers, although may well have relevance for rural travel markets.

The work is reported through three staged documents, available to download below.

Stage 1 considers evidence on demand, the extent to which existing transport services meet those needs, and the nature of a possible alternative

Stage 2 focuses on supply issues, conducting a feasibility analysis of implementation scenarios in the city of Bristol, with the new system variously coexisting with and replacing the established transport systems

Stage 3 examines the practical barriers to implementation and practical barriers to advantaging the travel poor through implementation