The award for investment in projects to makes bus passengers' lives better as they wait for the bus (stops, shelters and terminals), or to make their journeys faster and more reliable through traffic management and bus priority schemes.
Schemes submitted for this award can consist of bus priority measures, bus stations, route infrastructure work or a mixture of all three.
The judges were looking in particular for schemes which, amongst other things, provide:
- Positive benefits - without unintended disbenefits
- Good design - which meets operators’ requirements
- Quality - of both service and infrastructure
- Bus priority - on routes seen by operators as important.
Winners: Transport for London, East London Transit Phase 1a (ELT1a)
East London Transit is a high quality BRT scheme that provides a fast, frequent and reliable service on a 9km route. It comprises an innovative package of measures which together deliver an impressive public transport experience.
The ELT1a project has delivered high levels of bus priority in a challenging and capacity-constrained urban environment, transforming the streetscape and smoothing traffic flow for all road users. New highway design has regulated parking and loading, and provided priority for bus passengers whilst urban realm improvements have rejuvenated busy retail areas and improved accessibility to shops and services.
Whilst not applicable everywhere, the judges were impressed especially by the clever way bus priority had been incorporated into areas and on roads that did not lend themselves to conventional methods of advantaging buses, and how these had been brought together to provide a comprehensive scheme to assist bus flow, and give an attractive service to bus users.
Runners Up: Metro (West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive), Brighouse Bus Station
As part of Metro’s programme of upgrading bus interchanges, an inadequate facility has been replaced with a state-of-the-art small bus station fit for the 21st century. The striking design, located close to the main street, helps to showcase public transport.
The £2.3million bus station is already proving popular with passengers, early surveys indicating a small level of modal shift with 4% of users having previously made their journey by car, and 8% being reported as not having made the journey at all.
The judges commented that the bus station would have achieved an even better mark if the undoubted quality of the facility had been supplemented by a still higher quality of road access for buses entering and leaving the station.
Lothian Buses plc, BusTracker: A real-time passenger information and fleet management system
Lothian Buses now has a real-time passenger information and fleet management system. Launched in 2004 after three years of planning, its continued development now makes it one of the most ambitious, comprehensive and technically advanced such systems in the UK. The system includes 600 vehicles operated by Lothian Buses, 350 LCD signs on the streets of Edinburgh and the Lothians, and features bus priority and web applications.
The judges were particularly impressed with the breadth of scope and integration of the various elements of BusTracker compared with other similar schemes, and the potential for further development.
First Aberdeen, New Bus Depot
In 2009, FirstGroup opened its brand new £14million bus depot (and Group corporate headquarters) in Aberdeen. The depot is equipped with the latest technology and provides the platform to achieve a substantial reduction in the carbon footprint and significant financial savings not only in Aberdeen but, with similar initiatives, throughout the whole Group.
The judges commented on the potential that a new depot has not only to improve working conditions and the general environment for those directly employed within the facility but also to raise engineering and operational standards that have a significant knock-on benefit for the travelling public.
Judges’ Overall Verdict
The judges were disappointed by the small number of entries. Whilst the quantity was small, the quality of those entries was viewed as good, although not as good or wide-ranging as previous years.
There are examples of some very good basic bus priority schemes having been implemented over the last couple of years. However, other than the East London Transit entry, there were no nominations of ordinary highway schemes that give the bus priority over other traffic and thus improve the speed, reliability and journey times of services out on the road, perhaps the key factor in persuading car owners to use public transport and so essential if successful modal shift is to be achieved.
Who could be nominated?
Entries were welcomed from transport authorities and bus operators working separately or together to achieve overall benefits for the community.
… and by whom?
Nominations were accepted from all eligible organisations, and self-nomination was acceptable.
Criteria and Entry Requirements
Entries were judged on the overall quality of the submissions, which were required to:
- Describe the benefits, for example – improved journey time reliability, reduced journey times, increased frequencies and / or measurable increased patronage and modal shift.
- Describe the degree of co-operation and consultation which took place between the highway authority and local bus operator(s)
- Show that the criteria adopted by the highway authority included the extent of road space reallocation in favour of the bus.
- Show that the project took a comprehensive approach to important bus corridor(s).
- Describe the impact of the scheme on the accessibility of the bus product for people with mobility difficulties
- Describe the arrangements made for the enforcement of bus priorities
- Describe the arrangements made for infrastructure maintenance
- Show the extent to which the project and its arrangements were based on common sense and best practice.
- Demonstrate that the scheme has been for a sufficient period of time to allow the outcomes to be monitored, and is in operation at the time of the entry. Evidence of outcome against projections MUST be provided.
- State whether the results are likely to be sustainable
- Describe any future plans for further development.
- Include any relevant supporting material.
Entries should address each of the above criteria to assist with the judging process.
Note that where schemes have equal or equivalent merit, the final determinant was the degree of priority accorded to buses.