Greener Journeys has released a report, carried out by consultancy firm Arup, looking at how investment in ‘innovative bus infrastructure projects’ is helping to reverse the decline in bus patronage.
On-demand services, virtual bus lanes and dedicated busways were examined in the report.
Following the Chancellor’s announcement that the Transforming Cities Fund for urban transport is to be increased 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, and the report summarises previous work by KPMG and others to show the benefits of this in reducing congestion and pollution and the social and economic benefits such as improving links to employment and training and reduced social isolation.
“The Greener Journey/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.
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.
Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, added: “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.”