The guidance, entitled ‘Buses in Urban Developments’ and published by the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), was written by transport and planning consultant Tim Pharoah, who worked alongside a steering group including Professor Peter White, Managing Director for bus development at Go-Ahead Group Martin Dean, Independent Researcher Kit Mitchell, CIHT Fellow Derek Palmer and Managing Director of consultancy Integrated Transport Planning Jon Parker.
The new guidance includes advice on matters such as street design, bus priority, traffic calming and the location of bus stops. The report also highlights a number of examples of good practice, notably ‘The Bridge’ development in Kent near the Queen Elizabeth II Dartford Bridge, in which the ‘Fastrack’ busway within a new housing area has been provided from the outset, with developer support both for infrastructure and a high level of service. Professor White also gave the opportunity to Westminster Transport Planning and Management MSc students to explore the ‘Fastrack’ busway scheme in North Kent on field trips in previous years of the course.
The CIHT also questioned the conventional wisdom about maximum walking distances to bus stops in housing developments. “Custom and practice for many years suggests a maximum walking distance of 400 metres from a bus stop. […] These standard distances should not be applied uniformly without regard to the characteristics of the particular location or route. A shorter maximum distance may be appropriate for hilly terrain, for access to hospitals or older people’s residences, or where the walking environment is unattractive,” reads the report.
When planning bus stop locations in new developments, it is “crucial to use actual walking distances and not notional circles whose radius is the maximum desired walking distance.”
Professor Peter White commented: “A common problem facing bus operators is that insufficient attention is paid to ensuring that bus services can effectively serve new developments, resulting in poor levels of service subsequently. By making planners and developers aware of these needs at an early stage - for example, roads with sufficient clearance to accommodate buses - these can be reduced.”
He was also recently quoted in French newspaper Le Monde talking about the railway conditions in France: “The TGV fast-train network is excellent but local trains are quite ineffective.”