The long awaited `new environment' of high speed broadband networks and multimedia applications is fast becoming a reality. However, few systems in existence today, whether they be large scale pilots or small scale test-beds in research laboratories, offer a fully integrated and flexible environment where multimedia applications can maximally exploit the quality of service (QoS) capabilities of supporting networks and end-systems. In this paper we describe the implementation of an adaptive transport system that incorporates a QoS oriented API and a range of mechanisms to assist applications in exploiting QoS and adapting to fluctuations in QoS. The system, which is an instantiation of the Lancaster QoS Architecture, is implemented in a multi ATM switch network environment with Linux based PC end systems and continuous media file servers. A performance evaluation of the system configured to support video-on-demand application scenario is presented and discussed. Emphasis is placed on novel features of the system and on their integration into a complete prototype. The most prominent novelty of our design is a `distributed QoS adaptation' scheme which allows applications to delegate to the system responsibility for augmenting and reducing the perceptual quality of video and audio flows when resource availability increases or decreases.