A report by Greener Journeys says a 10% improvement in bus services would lead to almost 10,000 more people in work in the poorest neighbourhoods in England. The sustainable transport group’s study found enhancing local bus networks boosts employment and improves income, which it says helps reduce social deprivation. Conducted by KPMG and the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, the research has been described as ‘ground breaking’, in that it investigates and quantifies for the first time the impact of bus services on tackling social deprivation. Entitled the ‘Value of the Bus to Society’, it found that a 10% improvement in local bus services is linked to a 3.6% reduction in social deprivation across England, taking into account employment, income, life expectancy and skills.
It concluded that a 10% improvement in local bus services in the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods across England would result in: 9,909 more jobs, the result of a 2.7% fall in employment deprivation; 22,647 people with increased income, the result of a 2.8% drop in income deprivation; 2,596 fewer years of life lost; 7,313 more people with adult skills; and 0.7% increase in post-16 education.
It builds on existing research by Greener Journeys that shows buses bring huge economic benefits to the UK. Some 3.5m people in the UK travel to work by bus, and these commuters generate over £64bn worth of goods and services per year. Furthermore, it claims proper investment in local bus infrastructure delivers vast rewards, with every £1 spent on local bus priority measures delivering up to £7 in economic benefit. Among its recommendations, Greener Journeys is calling on policy makers to prioritise investment in buses and local bus infrastructure. It is also asking decision makers to consider the wider social benefits of projects when appraising transport schemes and investment cases.
Statistics from the report can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/561060/annual-bus-statistics-year-ending-march-2016.pdf