Greener Journeys calls for bus infrastructure statement
Sustainable travel campaigners, Greener Journeys, claim crucial bus services are at risk as infrastructure funding is devolved to local decision makers without what it describes as appropriate national guidance in place. The organisation is calling on the Government to make a National Statement on Local Bus Infrastructure to guide spending decisions by local decision makers. It says investment in local bus infrastructure is essential to increase network reliability, reduce journey times and tackle local air pollution, with significant knock on benefits for growth and jobs.
Citing the Institute for Transport Studies’ 2012 report, ‘Buses and Economic Growth’, Greener Journeys claims bus infrastructure and selective priority measures are vital to the 5.1bn journeys made each year in the UK by bus and to bus commuters contributing an estimated £64bn to the economy. In order to help guide local decision makers on decisions related to bus infrastructure funding, the campaign group commissioned KPMG LLP to develop a new guide to help harness buses’ potential to boost economic growth, create jobs and strengthen communities. With the help of 60 ‘expert stakeholders’, this new guide sets out eight policy recommendations to improve local bus infrastructure. These include: objectives for local transport networks should be determined locally, aligned to Strategic Economic Plans and guided by national policy; using efficient transport networks to facilitate economic growth; continuing technological innovation and sharing of best practice measures; and developing reliable evidence on the likely contribution of specific infrastructure measures to growth.
Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, Claire Haigh, said, ‘As the DfT devolves its capital funding, it is essential that vital bus infrastructure is supported in local growth plans. Over recent years our research has time and again shown just how crucial buses are to helping people into work, driving economic growth in Britain’s towns and cities and to building cohesive and prosperous communities.’
‘We stand ready to work with local enterprise partnerships, to harness the full potential of the bus to generate growth, boost jobs and protect the environment. But central Government can and must play a more positive role as well. This is why Greener Journeys is calling for a National Statement on Local Bus Infrastructure, which would show local decision makers how to use the full potential of the bus to deliver growth.’