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Local bus infrastructure investment is good for business

14 September 2015

Every pound spent on local bus infrastructure can generate up to £7 of benefits for local businesses, communities and the environment, new research has found.

The ‘Roadmap to Growth’ research for Greener Journeys by independent analysts at KPMG LLP found that 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 was launched at Westminster at an event for local and national decision makers, where SEMLEP’s Head of Infrastructure Hilary Chipping was one of the expert panellists.

Hilary Chipping, Head of Infrastructure at SEMLEP, attended an event at Westminster to unveil this research. She said: “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.” 

By evaluating existing schemes across the UK, the Greener Journeys 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.

New research by Peter White, Professor Emeritus of Public Transport Systems at the University of Westminster, for Greener Journeys also found that effective bus priority measures can deliver up to 75% 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.

The findings are brought together in Greener Journeys’ Roadmap to Growth, a new framework which outlines the ways in which local decision makers and Government can maximise the contribution of buses to our society and economy. 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.

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.”


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