Greener Journeys: Investment in bus infrastructure can cut pollution and deliver economic gain

11 September 2015  •  Author(s): Katie Sadler, Digital Content Producer, Eurotransport

New research commissioned by Greener Journeys by analysts KPMG LLP has revealed investment into local bus infrastructure can deliver clear economic benefits and cuts pollution.

Greener Journeys: Investment in bus infrastructure can cut pollution and bring economic gain

The study found carefully planned bus priority measures, such as bus lanes, busway schemes and better interchange systems to speed up journeys, when implemented in the correct places and properly enforced, deliver significant local benefits such as cutting pollution and journey times. The research discovered for every pound spent on local bus infrastructure can generate up to £7 of benefits for local businesses, communities and the environment.

By evaluating existing schemes across the UK, the study found that every £1 spent on local bus infrastructure delivered between £4.67 and £6.94 of benefits to users, non-users and the wider economy.

Further new research carried out by Peter White, Professor Emeritus of Public Transport Systems at the University of Westminster, for Greener Journeys found that effective bus priority measures can deliver up to 75 percent fewer emissions per passenger per km. Bus journeys are made shorter and more reliable, encouraging more people to leave their car at home. This has a corresponding reduction in congestion, which costs the UK economy at least £11 billion per year.

Greener Journeys launches new research calling on the Government to issue guidance on how bus infrastructure can promote local economic growth

Greener Journeys have developed a new framework, Roadmap to Growth, outlining the ways in which local decision makers and Government can maximise the contribution buses to our society and economy. Greener Journeys state ‘As responsibility is being devolved locally, the framework calls for the provision of enhanced and consistent guidance to local decision makers on the evaluation of transport schemes. It also calls on the Government to sponsor evaluations of large and complex schemes and undertake evaluations of local bus schemes so that lessons are learnt and best practice shared.’

Greener Journeys’ Roadmap to Growth is due to launch at a dedicated event for local and national decision makers, where there will be a keynote speech from the Minister for Transport, Andrew Jones MP. The launch is also part of the wider Bus Priority Works campaign calling for the wider adoption of simple traffic measures which could cut pollution and journey times.

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said: “Decision makers have a huge opportunity to improve public transport, boost the economy and raise the quality of life for local people – all through a few bus priority measures which are cost-effective and simple to introduce. This new research demonstrates the vital role played by local bus infrastructure, in keeping communities connected and keeping people moving.”

Hilary Chipping, Head of Infrastructure at the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP), added: “Investment in bus priority measures is an essential element in improving infrastructure to enable businesses to grow. As buses become more reliable then more people will be willing to use them to access jobs and services. This reduces congestion, improves the environment and allows local economies to grow more quickly.”

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, talked to Eurotransport about the recent ‘Catch the Bus Week’. The full article can be viewed here.

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