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How to name stops in NaPTAN

Use these principles so you can:

  • prepare data for upload if you are new to using NaPTAN or you do not use it often
  • check best practise basics in completing NaPTAN fields

Start by putting yourself in the traveller’s shoes

Your responsibility is to help people understand where they are, where they can get to, when and how.

When you add or edit data in NaPTAN, you are describing stops (transport nodes) accurately and usefully so people can travel.

Put yourself in the travellers’ perspective so that you can both:

  • upload technically accurate data
  • help people travel easily and without getting lost or confused

Local knowledge might include knowing, for example, that a bus stop named after a street is more usually known by the name of the pub that is opposite the stop.

Use enough unique information so people can use stops

You might need more or less information to describe stops depending on where the stop is and how easy or difficult it might be to find.

Usually, you can name a stop usefully by filling in several key fields:

  • common name - this is the name most usually used for a specific stop, for example, Old Kent Road Tesco
  • street - for example High Street
  • NPTG locality code
  • indicator - this identifies the relation of a stop to the nearest or clearest marker, for example opposite, adjacent (close to, next to or nearest), eastbound

You might need to fill in more fields to provide more information, for example, to distinguish several stops at a junction so people can identify the right one for their direction of travel.

When there is only one stop on a specific street, you may only need the common name, street and NPTG locality code so people can identify it.

Use relevant information

Making stop information useful for people means making it relevant to where they are and where they need to go.

You can easily get confused if you’re travelling, for example:

  • deciding which of several stops to use around a busy train station
  • where the nearest stop is in the middle of the countryside
  • where to stand for a bus when there are no markings

Use different kinds of information to describe stops depending on:

  • whether the stop is marked, unmarked or hail and ride, for example, common name and also landmark might be needed when there is no physical bus stop
  • the kind of transport the stop relates to, for example most transport nodes are bus stops, but NaPTAN also covers other transport including coaches, trains, trams, underground and metro services, ferries and airports
  • the situation, for example changing from coach to train at a city interchange, or travelling from a city to a ferry terminal out of town

Provide meaningful stop descriptions

Filling in NaPTAN fields usefully means describing stops so they are meaningful to users.

This can be useful, for example:

  • where the locality, street and common name share the same words - Firshill, Firshill Glade, Firshill Crescent
  • where the stop is known informally by a landmark, such as a church, but uses the name of the street

When you use a journey planner, the planner often uses the NPTG locality information about a place (a set of co-ordinates for each locality) to plan your journey to that destination.

For example, if using the term “Carlisle” a journey planner would use the NPTG locality co-ordinate information for Carlisle to plan your journey. That might include giving you options about different kinds of transport you could use to get there, including bus or train.

However, searching for Carlisle train station would give you the NaPTAN stop information about that stop, including the street it is on and where you can find stops for other kinds of public transport nearby.

When you provide meaningful stop descriptions, that allows the user to understand where they are, where they need to be and how to get there.

Check your stop descriptions work with what users see elsewhere

When you describe stops in NaPTAN it should generally match what people might understand from what they see elsewhere, even if the stop might be described in a different way.

For example, information in NaPTAN fields will not always be an exact match to the sign on a physical bus stop, on Google maps or on websites.

Your NaPTAN data should still be accurate and up to date.

However, you might need to include more information, such as what the stop is near, or a landmark, so that people can feel confident about what they can do next.

Use information that makes transport accessible

You don’t always need to use all the fields to describe stops usefully and meaningfully.

However, you should avoid only using the minimum of information.

Places and transport in the UK are rarely straightforward because of history, geography and legacy systems.

Information you provide about stops might also be used in many different situations by people in many different circumstances, for example:

  • people with physical, visual, auditory and cognitive needs
  • anyone with temporary access needs, such as new parents,
  • tourists who don't have English as their first language

Make it as easy as possible for anyone to use transport, including people who might have access needs.

Don’t repeat information

People need to be able to identify stops quickly and easily across multiple devices, including their mobile phones and, when they get to a stop, using electronic passenger information displays or systems.

Repeating the same information across fields is not helpful, for example putting the words ‘High Street’ into the common name, short name and landmark fields.

Keep it simple

Use simple information in the fields when you describe stops.

Do not combine different pieces of information in one field, for example putting Opp St Mary’s Upper Street Islington into one field.

Use each field that is relevant to the stop you are describing to build up a picture for the user of where that stop is.

Make sure your data is up to date

All of the data you provide or edit, including the stops your data describes, should be up to date.

Make time to regularly review your data so it’s easier to be sure it’s accurate.

You should also check data from other local authorities so that stops information can be consistent.