This research - conducted by transport consultancy SYSTRA on behalf of the Urban Transport Group - uncovers valuable insights into how passengers spend their time while travelling by bus, and sets out the implications for future bus design and promotion.
The research was based on surveys of over 1,100 people on two different bus routes in Leeds and Nottingham. The two routes both provide a high frequency service and operate with double decker buses with leather seats, WiFi and USB ports - some of the best on-board facilities available. However, the profile of passengers between the two routes was somewhat different, with passengers in Leeds tending to be older, working or retired, whilst a higher proportion of respondents in Nottingham were students, due to the bus route travelling along the university corridor.
This research, by Transport for Quality of Life, identifies the underlying conditions that best predict levels of bus use in local areas. It points to six conditions which, when combined, are used to define the ‘Intrinsic Bus Potential’ (IBP) of a local authority area. These include the Index of Multiple Deprivation, the proportion of students, and rush-hour traffic travel times.
The report also identifies additional factors which may explain why some areas exceed expectations with higher levels of bus use than predicted, such as a pre-existing culture of bus use, high levels of bus provision, and local factors such as poor rail connectivity.
The research has a number of important implications, including the need for radical change on bus policy to enable more areas to do significantly better on bus patronage.
This report - published to coincide with the 2019 Autumn Party Conferences - identifies four urban transport challenges and four solutions needed to overcome them.
It also details what transport authorities need from Government to bring about these changes.
On launching the report, Stephen Edwards, Chair of the Urban Transport Group and Executive Director of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive, said: "There is much more that needs to be done if transport is to contribute effectively to meeting the many challenges that city regions face, from the climate crisis to public health challenges associated with a lack of physical activity. The right policies can help overcome these challenges."
We are living in rapidly changing times. Big shifts are taking place in urban transport trends.
Number crunch 2019 is the second in our Number crunch report series and provides an updated overview of the key trends over the last ten years, as well as taking a look at what the new and most recent data is telling us. The report also investigates some new issues – including housing need and social inclusion.
In these changing times, the case for coordinated and integrated transport planning at the city region level is stronger than ever. So is the case for long term funding frameworks for local urban transport rather than stop-start funding as is currently the case.
This literature review - carried out by SYSTRA for the Urban Transport Group - aims to appraise the existing evidence base on the range of factors that influence how people respond to the experience of bus travel, with a focus on the social-emotional experience of bus travel and on the experiences of different socio-demographic groups.
The review does not aim to act as a ‘to-do’ list to complete in order to improve bus travel experiences. Any learnings taken should acknowledge that the bus services assessed in the literature are often hyper-local and therefore are experienced in a very individual market.
This report highlights how investing in bus services is key to achieving a wide range of policy objectives across Government.
The report also finds that the way in which bus services are funded is mired in complexity, with no oversight within Whitehall of how the various funding streams from different Government departments impact on bus services overall.
It also shows that all the main forms of funding for bus services are under severe pressure – in particular those that come indirectly from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government which support bus services that bus companies will not provide on a commercial basis. The report calls for a new ‘Connectivity Fund’ – which would bring together existing bus funding together with funding from other Government Departments into a significantly enhanced and ring-fenced pot for local government to support bus services.
This report examines ‘transit oriented development’ - the principle of putting public transport front and centre in new residential and commercial developments, with the aim of maximising access by public transport, encouraging walking and cycling, and minimising the need to own and use private cars.
The report suggests that transit oriented development has the potential to meet housing need without undermining the green belt or creating more traffic congestion and sprawl. It also examines other areas where it can deliver wide-ranging benefits, such as to local economies; air quality and carbon emissions; social inclusion, employment and skills; health; and public transport patronage.
The place to be sets out a five point plan on how to realise more building developments which are based around sustainable, public transport and active travel.
This report examines the key role that transport interventions can play in supporting post-industrial towns.
It features case studies from the UK and the wider world of how different types of interventions - from transport’s role as an ‘anchor institution’ for local economies and as an employer, through to how transport interchanges can act as ‘gateways’ and sources of civic pride and renewal - can achieve results.
A key finding of the report is that isolated capital interventions in transport infrastructure are insufficient in themselves. Instead, more co-ordinated programmes of transport capital and revenue investment and support are needed if towns are to truly thrive.
The latest edition of Policy futures for urban transport emphasises how a new deal on funding and powers is essential to keep the UK's cities moving forward.
The report sets out the 10 key policy changes that are needed to make cities healthier, fairer and more prosperous.
These include further devolution of rail services; greater funding for buses; reform of taxi and Private Hire Vehicle legislation; an ambitious strategy to encourage more cycling and walking; a long term investment plan for urban rail services; and a visionary national policy framework on air quality.
Our report, Number crunch: Transport trends in the city regions, identifies some of the most defining patterns of the past decade (and projected future trends) that are changing the face of the UK’s city regions, and the way that people travel within them.
Ageing urban populations, rapid bus passenger decline and huge growth in private hire vehicles are just some of the dramatic shifts taking place in UK cities.
The report draws on data from our unique, free and interactive online tool ‘Data Hub’, which allows users to generate bespoke analysis, graphics and charts of transport, economic and population data.
Policy futures for urban transport sets out how, with more focused governance in place, the city regions are delivering major investment programmes including on public transport, highways and active travel, and smart ticketing. The report says that - with the right national policy framework - further and faster progress can be made, including:
- ensuring that the benefits of transformative technological change are maximised including new ways of paying for access to transport, connected and autonomous vehicles and data;
- that barriers between different sectors are broken down so that the benefits that transport can bring to achieving wider policy goals - in areas like health, employment and education - are fully realised.
‘The Scandinavian Way to Better Public Transport’ shows how transport authorities in three Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark and Norway) are using devolved powers to transform public transport for the better - and sets out the lessons that the UK could learn.
‘Total Transport’ schemes pool resources and vehicle fleets from across the public sector which are currently used to provide separate mainstream, social services, education and healthcare transport provision. Through pooling and coordination a better overall service can be provided at less cost to the taxpayer. However, it is proving challenging to get NHS non emergency patient transport services to participate in such schemes despite the major savings that could accrue from doing so. This briefing explains the scale of the potential opportunity from Total Transport schemes which include the NHS.
This report sets out our vision for how future UK urban transport policy could unfold in a way that enables the nation’s urban areas to deliver smart and sustainable growth that has far-reaching benefits. It looks at the great strides our city regions have already made and proposes fifteen ways in which national government and transport authorities can work together to create the transport networks urban areas need in order to fully realise their potential.
This report provides an overview of how local public transport has been devolved in the Netherlands in a way that still maintains a national integrated public transport network. It also analyses the different approaches that have been taken to the franchising of local public transport networks and the lessons that can be learned.
This report aims to provide decision makers with a guide to the implications for urban transport of transformative social and technological change and how they can best respond.
The report (which was produced in collaboration with Arup Foresight) identifies four key overarching trends:
- Changes in demographics and lifestyles and the rise of the sharing economy alter mobility choices
- Urbanisation, climate change and the need to improve air quality put pressure on transport systems
- Advances in technology and increased digital connectivity make transport infrastructure smarter and more efficient
- More powers are devolved to cities and city regions which results in more innovation and leadership in responding to urban challenges in locally appropriate ways
The Urban Transport Group, the UK’s network of city region transport authorities, has today responded to the Government’s package of financial support for urban public transport as it works to keep people moving through the COVID-19 crisis.
New research has uncovered valuable insights into how passengers spend their time while travelling by bus, and sets out the implications for future bus design and promotion.
- Research helps predict “good bus territory” and highlights 25 local areas which out-perform their predicted bus use and why
The Urban Transport Group has today responded to a speech made by the Chancellor in which he described buses as the “backbone of our public transport in most of the country.”
The challenges to improving transport in the UK’s city regions and the solutions needed to overcome them have been set out by the Urban Transport Group today.
The Urban Transport Group has today welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment in his speech at Manchester’s Museum of Science and Industry this weekend that he will “begin as a matter of urgency the transformation of local bus services”.