Buses and coaches have a key role to play in relieving congestion, reducing the carbon footprint from transport and improving local air quality. This means maximising road space and precious fuel resources and helping the environment.
If drivers switched just one car journey to bus or coach in 25 or one a month, it would mean one billion fewer car journeys and a saving of 2m tonnes of CO2.
A new report, commissioned by Greener Journeys, examines how the bus industry can contribute to meeting the Government’s targets for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, particularly in the medium term up to 2020.
The report was researched and prepared by David Simmonds Consultancy. Click here to read a copy of ‘What is the environmental value of investment to increase the use of buses? How the bus can help to deliver the Government’s CO2 reduction targets’.
It shows the best-used bus services in the major urban centres may well be reducing carbon emissions by 75% or more, if the emissions from bus operations are compared with the emissions which the bus passengers would generate by using cars if the bus services were not available.
The report finds that buses can play a useful role in helping to achieve the Government’s targets for reductions in carbon emissions – in addition to the role of the bus in supporting the working of the economy and its social role in providing transport for many people who would otherwise be seriously deprived by a lack of independent mobility.
- Passenger cars produce nearly 60% of all CO2 emissions from road transport in the UK, compared to just 5% from buses (Department of Energy and Climate Change 2011).
- The average number of people in a car is 1.58 compared to 32 in a coach (Carbon Pathways Analysis, National Travel Survey). At 30g CO2 per passenger kilometre the express coach results in less than a quarter of the emissions per passenger than equivalent journey by car.
- Average number of passengers on a bus is 9.3; in a city a journey by bus can result in half the CO2 emissions per passenger compared to the car, and this differential would be much greater with modal shift (National Travel Survey 2009).
- Reducing congestion shortens journey times and a 10% reduction in travel time is forecast to increase productivity by 0.4%-1.1% (Eddington Transport Study 2006). The installation of a bus lane along the A259 in Brighton allowed the 12X bus service 26 minutes earlier, meaning a 29% journey time saving.
- Congestion dramatically increases CO2 emissions from road vehicles. Under heavily congested conditions tail pipe emissions can be increased by as much as 3 or 4 times. (Bell M.C. Environmental Factors in Intelligent Transport Systems, IEE Proceedings 2006)
- Operators are achieving savings in fuel consumption, carbon savings from alternative fuels and are investing in low carbon vehicles, which are estimated to use 30% less CO2 than diesel equivalents.