More bus lanes and bus priority measures are needed to cut growing urban congestion, an alliance of major transport groups has warned.
Launching its Bus Priority Works campaign this week, a raft of bodies including the Passenger Transport Executive Group (pteg), Transport for London and the Confederation of Passenger Transport have all called for more bus lanes to cut pollution and journey times.
The campaign highlights analysis by KPMG suggesting that ‘targeted investment in bus priority measures typically generates £3.32 of net economic benefit for each £1 of cost incurred’.
Simon Posner, chief executive of Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: ‘One of the major benefits bus passengers enjoy is being able to avoid urban traffic thanks to priority measures such as bus lanes. Wider use of carefully planned, well managed and enforced bus priority measures in urban areas would ensure that more people around Britain can enjoy faster and more reliable journeys, making bus travel even more appealing.’
The campaign also claims that bus lanes and other measures such as giving buses traffic light priority or dedicated bus-only spurs at junctions, can make roads safer and give a boost to local retail areas.
Claire Walters, chief executive of Bus Users UK: ‘Bus priority measures are a simple and cost-effective way to make buses a viable choice for everyone. Not only would this address some of the most challenging issues facing our towns and cities, but the impact on the lives of the people and communities they serve would be immeasurable.’
According to a Cabinet Office study in 2009 the estimated annual costs of congestion in English urban areas is £11bn, while a recent report by traffic analysts Inrix showed congestion is on the rise across the UK, with the nation climbing one place to become the fifth most gridlocked in Europe this year.
The Bus Priority Works campaign is led by Greener Journeys, Campaign for Better Transport, Confederation of Passenger Transport, Transport for London, pteg and Bus Users UK.