Bus priority makes sense

This site sets out how well planned bus priority schemes can transform roads and high streets; make walking and cycling safer; create clearer parking and drop off spaces; and reduce congestion for all road users.

Carefully planned bus priority measures are good for everyone. Bus passengers benefit from faster and more reliable journey times. And as buses become more reliable more people will be willing to leave their car at home easing traffic congestion for everyone – including other road users, like cars and vans. 

With less congestion and more people able to access jobs and services more reliably – particularly at peak times – local economies can grow more rapidly. 

Bus priority measures are also often combined with a wider transformation of roads and high streets – with clearer parking and drop off spaces, greater safety for pedestrians and cyclists, and a much more attractive street scene. All of which is good for local traders and good for local communities.

Making places more prosperous and pleasant

Bus priority is about more than smoother bus journeys. Indeed, it is about more than improving transport. It can make a considerable contribution to local economies and quality of life. Bus priority schemes are significant projects which can provide the catalyst to assess how streets function, what people and businesses want from their local area and how to resolve long-standing issues effectively. This integrated approach delivers many benefits. 

They range from quicker journeys for all road users to greater access to employment, better trading conditions, safer streets, and public realm that makes for more enjoyable time in our towns and cities. This is how bus priority works.


Click on the image to view and download the

Bus priority works brochure

**News Release** Simple traffic measures could cut pollution and journey times, says transport coalition ahead of major bus priority campaign (07/09/15) 

Congested towns and urban centres could be made clearer and greener if buses were given greater priority on the roads, an unprecedented coalition of transport groups have announced today (7 September).

The coalition will call for the wider adoption of simple traffic measures which could cut pollution and journey times, as well as provide a boost for local businesses, as part of a week-long drive to raise awareness of the benefits of bus priority.

The Bus Priority Works campaign will include the launch of a new website which will show that there is strong evidence for the benefits of bus priority measures.

Leading figures from the campaign will make the case for bus priority measures at a dedicated event for local and national decision makers, while a new series of infographics supporting their argument will be published on social media.

The activity has been co-ordinated by sustainable campaign group Greener Journeys, pteg, Campaign for Better Transport, Confederation of Passenger Transport and Bus Users, as well as Transport for London – the first time such a large coalition has come together to campaign for increased focus on bus priority measures at a national level.

Carefully planned bus priority measures – when implemented in the correct places and properly enforced – deliver benefits for local businesses, communities and the environment.  Analysis by KPMG for Greener Journeys has shown that targeted investment in bus priority measures typically generates £3.32 of net economic benefit for each £1 of cost incurred.

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.

Shops benefit from better access for consumers, and local people find jobs and services easier to reach, particularly at peak times. Meanwhile communities enjoy cleaner air and less noise pollution.

Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said:

“Decision makers have a huge opportunity to improve local transport, boost the economy and raise the quality of life for their constituents – all through a few bus priority measures which are cost-effective and simple to introduce.  Such measures will further enhance the key role that buses play in supporting vital economic activity and help local economies to grow.”

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport, said:

“Allowing buses more priority doesn't just reduce congestion, it also helps reduce air pollution by encouraging more people to travel on the bus instead of in their cars. This means people living in busy urban areas can enjoy cleaner air and less noise pollution, as well as more reliable public transport, supporting their health and well-being.”

David Brown, Pteg lead on bus, said:

"Two thirds of all public transport journeys each year are by bus and they fulfil a vital role in society by transporting us to school and work, to the shops and to social events. Bus priority measures allow them to do their job more reliably and efficiently, encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and make use of the local bus.”

Leon Daniels, MD of Surface Transport, TfL

“Passengers in London know the benefits bus priority measures can bring, as bus lanes on routes across the capital make journeys faster and more reliable, allowing passengers to reach their destination in many cases faster than they would in a car.  These measures continue to protect the bus network from congestion, improve the reliability of journey times and support London’s growing economy.”

Simon Posner, Chief Executive, 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.”

Claire Walters, Chief Executive, 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."

-ENDS-

About the Bus Priority Works campaign

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. It argues that carefully planned bus priority measures, implemented in the correct places, are good for everyone. The campaign will take place from Monday 7 to Sunday 13 September. 

About Greener Journeys

Greener Journeys is a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices. It aims to reduce CO2emissions from transport by encouraging people to switch some of their car journeys to bus or coach instead.  Switching from car to bus for just one journey a month would mean one billion fewer car journeys on our roads and would save 2 million tonnes of CO2 every year. It is a coalition of Britain’s leading bus companies and other supporters includingTransport for London, Transport Focus, Campaign for Better Transport, the RAC Foundation, and Confederation for Passenger Transport (CPT)).  Its primary funders are bus companies Arriva, FirstGroup, Go-Ahead, and Stagecoach. 

About Campaign for Better Transport

Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels.  

About Confederation of Passenger Transport

The Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT) is the UK’s leading Trade Association representing the interests of bus and coach operators and recognised by Government as the voice of the industry whilst also being the focus for consultation on national and international legislation, local regulations, operational practices and engineering standards. 

About pteg

We represent the strategic transport bodies serving the six largest city regions outside London. We are also a wider professional network for Britain’s largest urban transport authorities. 

About Bus Users UK

Bus Users champions the rights of bus and coach users. We give passengers a voice, campaign for improved standards in services, and work to make bus travel a viable choice for everyone. 

About Transport for London

TfL is London’s integrated transport authority, responsible for the coordinated delivering of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy. Our goal is to keep London working, growing and to make life in London better. Our services ensure that those who live and work in and visit London can access all the Capital has to offer in terms of jobs, leisure, health, and education.

Claire Haigh

Stephen Joseph

David Brown

Leon Daniels

Simon Posner

Claire Walters