Small is beautiful

  • New study shows good vfm from small public transport schemes

Smaller public transport schemes (such as bus priority bus schemes) funded by the Integrated Transport Block (which was halved in the CSR) show high value for money, according to analysis in a new report for pteg by Jacobs.

The report found that the median value BCRs for the schemes studied was 3.5 representing high value for money according to the DfT's own criteria.

Examples include:

  • In Tyne and Wear, the introduction of low cost shared lanes (open to goods vehicles and taxis as well as buses and cycles) has delivered lower journey times and improved reliability for all vehicles. Based on modelling and monitoring data we estimate these schemes to have delivered a BCR above 8.
  • The Derby Road Quality Bus Corridor in Nottingham has led to substantial improvements in bus punctuality and an improved perception of bus services through a number of bus priority and soft measures. The scheme is estimated to have delivered a BCR above 7.
  • The Intelligent Traffic Light Priority scheme in West Yorkshire will substantially reduce bus delays and unreliability at 67 key junctions without affecting general traffic flows. A combination of modelling and initial pilot results suggest that the BCR of the scheme could be higher than 7 on some of the busiest junctions.
  • The Integrated Transport Knowledge Base (ITKB) scheme will radically improve the information available to public transport users in the West Midlands and is expected to deliver a BCR above 9.

The report also finds that many small schemes do not go through a full and conventional appraisal process as such processes are not always appropriate or proportionate to the scale and nature of these investments. To address this, the report sets out a simplified appraisal framework that local transport authorities could use to enable more robust, consistent and practical assessment of the impacts and value for money of smaller public transport schemes.

David Brown leads for pteg on bus issues:

'We know that one reason why DfT funding for smaller public transport schemes was hit disproportionately hard in the spending review was a perception that the evidence base wasn't robust enough. This report shows that many smaller public transport schemes represent excellent value for money. It also sets out a way in which both local transport authorities can get better at both before and after appraisal of the benefits of these kinds of schemes in order to develop this evidence base further. Both local authorities and transport operators will need to collaborate on further developing the evidence base if we are to make a more effective case in the next spending review than we did in the last.’

'Value for Money and Appraisal of Small Public Transport Schemes' report can be downloaded below. 


For more information contact Jonathan Bray on 0113 251 7445 / 0781 804 1485