Greener Journeys and Arup launch bus infrastructure investment report at ITC2018
The importance of investing in bus infrastructure across the UK is emphasised by Greener Journeys and Arup in their new report.
‘Bus Infrastructure Investment’, a new report for Greener Journeys by consultancy firm Arup, has been launched at the Intelligent Transport Conference 2018, illustrating how investment in innovative bus infrastructure projects is helping, and could continue to help, local services prevent the overall national trend of declining usage.
With the government having extended its Transforming Cities Fund for urban transport to £2.4 billion, 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 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,” Joseph 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 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 in comparison to 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 and the report’s findings are aimed at helping demonstrate how services could be greatly improved with innovative approaches.”