Software tools for Airports Commission

Software tools for Airports Commission


The SYSTRA Information Systems team develop specialised software products for the management and analysis of both qualitative and quantitative survey data, specific to the transport industry.

The SYSTRA TARA application has been specifically designed for processing journey based survey data with functionality for automated and manual geocoding of address data in a fast and efficient workflow. TARA is used by TNS Global for processing data for surveys including the London Travel Demand Survey (LTDS), Bus Origin Destination Survey (BODS) and TfL Roadside Interviews (RSI).

A third runway to serve London and the South East is possibly the most controversial major infrastructure project to be contemplated on the last 50 years. The Airports Commission needed to undertake a detailed public consultation on three proposals to deliver the new runway as part of the process of appraising the submissions. Tens of thousands of qualitative responses from various sources were anticipated and these would need to be managed and analysed in a framework that allowed consistent reporting and comparison of open ended survey questions, aiming for the clearest and most objective interpretation possible.


SYSTRA were appointed by the Airports Commission to carry out the public consultation on proposals for a third runway and received more than 70,000 responses.

To support the process of managing and analysing this vast dataset, the SYSTRA Information Systems team developed a tool supported on a secure Web portal that enables a uniform approach to analysing qualitative consultation responses from multiple sources. The Web tool was used both in house and remotely by a team of data analysts to review and categorise responses using a coding framework.

The tool can be customised according to specific requirements and enables open-ended responses to questions to be reviewed and categorised into common themes and sentiments to allow for consistent reporting of survey outcomes. Survey responses from any sources are supported and the system will detect duplication and clean the data. Reporting on the dataset is customisable and dynamic and can include a summary of popular themes or key sentiments, key statistics on response numbers, and a GIS-based display of response distribution by postcode. Users can drill down from the aggregate results to see individual responses and there is data processing statistics dashboard providing a real-time survey of responses.

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