- Buses-on-demand, virtual bus lanes and dedicated busways boost bus services across UK
- New report for Greener Journeys by Arup, together with bus operators, shows smart infrastructure can make buses faster and more reliable, and attract people out of cars
- £2.4bn Transforming City Fund provides opportunity to invest in local bus services
A new generation of bus projects across the UK is making services quicker and more reliable and helping to drive people out of their cars and onto public transport.
On-demand services, virtual bus lanes, and dedicated busways which reserve road space exclusively for buses are transforming services across the UK.
The findings, in a new report for Greener Journeys by consultancy firm Arup, illustrate how investment in innovative bus infrastructure projects is helping and could continue to help local services buck the overall national trend of declining usage.
With the Government having this week extended its Transforming Cities Fund for urban transport to £2.4bn, the report shows how investment in buses could bring major benefits to the 10 cities shortlisted to bid for the funding.
In a commentary published alongside the report Stephen Joseph, leading transport campaigner and former Chief Executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: “These kinds of investments have worked. They have increased bus usage, against a background of decline elsewhere.”
There is however a risk that buses will be overlooked for investment in favour of “more glamorous” alternatives such as new railway stations, tram lines and cycling networks, he warned.
“Cities ignoring buses would be missing out”, he said. “The Greener Journeys/Arup report makes a strong case for buses to get their share of this funding and in this way to create more good news stories about buses.”
For example, the “Fastway” busway in Crawley, where roundabouts and junctions have been redesigned to create segregated bus lanes, has improved journey times and reliability and caused a decline in car use, helping to deliver £6.10 in wider economic benefits for each £1 spent.
On-demand Arriva “Click” services, which allow customers to order a ride within 20 minutes via an online booking system, are now being rolled out in Liverpool and Sheffield after successfully transforming the nature of bus travel in Kent.
In Coventry the “Selected Vehicle Destination” system – a virtual bus lane that gives buses priority as they approach traffic lights – has proven a cost-effective way to make journey times more reliable while not causing delays for other vehicles.
Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said:
“This report demonstrates how smart investment in bus infrastructure is delivering major benefits to urban transport at a fraction of the cost of alternatives such as building a new railway station or tram link. Cities across the UK are being suffocated by congestion and air pollution, but the Transforming Cities Fund provides a real opportunity to encourage a shift from car to bus by making bus journeys more convenient and reliable. A modern diesel bus produces fewer harmful emissions overall than a modern diesel car, despite having 20 times the carrying capacity. A double decker bus can take 75 cars off the road.”
Dave Newton, Director, Arup said:
“This report shows how making the right investment in bus infrastructure can help tackle congestion and unlock wider social, economic and environmental benefits for cities and towns across the UK. Buses are an important part of the transport mix and ensure access to public transport for all. There are a variety of complex issues and opportunities faced on England’s bus networks today and the report’s findings are aimed at helping demonstrate how services could be greatly improved with innovative approaches.”
The new Greener Journeys/Arup report, Bus Infrastructure Investment, was launched today at the Intelligent Transport Conference in London.
For further information
Greener Journeys Press Office
firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 7912 799543
Stephen Joseph, Transport Policy Consultant
Notes to Editors
About Greener Journeys
Greener Journeys is a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices. It is a coalition of the UK’s leading public transport organizations, user groups and supporters. It aims to reduce CO2 emissions from transport by encouraging people to switch some of their car journeys to bus or coach instead. Switching from car to bus for just one journey a month would mean one billion fewer car journeys on our roads and would save 2 million tonnes of CO2 every year. For more information visit www.greenerjourneys.com
Arup is the creative force at the heart of many of the world’s most prominent projects in the built environment and across industry. Working in over 140 countries Arup has more than 14,000 planners, designers, engineers and consultants delivering innovative projects across the world with creativity and passion.www.arup.com