The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) has released a major new guidance document aiming to place bus services at the heart of urban planning and transport.
Buses in urban development is designed to inform professionals involved in urban policymaking, master planning, development management and transport planning.
The document is supported by the bus industry with endorsements from the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) as well as the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Transport Planning Society (TPS).
The document calls for local bus operators to be involved ‘in the initial layout of streets and positioning of bus stops in a new development’.
CIHT president Andreas Markides said: ‘Buses need to be an integral part of our towns and cities, but in many parts of the UK they are marginalised or fail to meet their potential.
'Prioritising public transport as a component of urban development is not new, but too often the policy is poorly reflected in practice on the ground. ‘CIHT – with the publication of “Buses in Urban Developments” – addresses this issue and shows how to put bus services right at the heart of development planning and urban transport.’
The key messages from CIHT include:
- New developments should be sufficiently compact or dense to generate demand that will support high frequency bus services with long-term viability;
- The layout of streets and paths in new developments should facilitate direct and efficient bus operation, with direct and pleasant walking routes to bus stops;
- Buses should be integral to the urban fabric, aided by a set of spatial planning policies that cascade logically from the governing spatial plan to the development management regime, together with local transport policies that satisfy this aim;
- Good bus services should be available from the occupation of any new development, either through proximity to existing routes or through the provision of new or extended routes.
The report highlights that buses have better levels of use where developments have sufficient overall density and a mix of uses, whereas they ‘will always struggle’ in areas containing car-based developments such as supermarkets with large car parks, and retail parks.
It highlights that the Stagecoach document Bus Services and New Residential Developments (Stagecoach, 2017) provides sound advice on good practice as well as examples of features to avoid.
There are four sections to the report to take planners through the different steps needed to support bus use.
Section A explains how urban development needs to be planned to enable a strong role for buses.
Section B provides guidance on the design of infrastructure needed to deliver a strong role for the bus,
Section C sets out the quality of service needed for buses to cater for a high proportion of people’s local travel, as well as the information that needs to be provided.
Section D emphasises the need for collaboration and coordination between various authorities to deliver effective bus-oriented development.