Bus Quality Partnerships, Modal Shift and Traffic Decongestion

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, policy - congestion, policy - sustainable, place - urban, mode - bus


Urban transportation policy, Urban transportation, Urban areas, Traffic mitigation, Traffic congestion, Sustainable development, Sustainability, Policy analysis, Partnerships, Modal shift, Mitigation measures, Intracity transportation, Intracity bus transportation, Gridlock (Traffic), Bus transit


A more sustainable transport system requires effective alternatives to private cars. Despite more than 40 years of declining use, buses are still the main form of local public transport outside central London. Government policy focuses upon Bus Quality Partnerships—agreements between highway authorities and bus operators to give bus priority access and invest in better quality buses—to reverse this decline and also attract car drivers to change modes and ease urban traffic congestion. This paper assesses the potential for Quality Partnerships to provide a more attractive bus service with the ability to achieve modal shift using a Greater Manchester case study. Preliminary results are presented from a comparative study of 2 Quality Bus Corridors (QBCs), 1 arterial route into Manchester’s Central Business District, and 1 transverse from Leigh to Bolton. The research employs bus user surveys and in-depth interviews, which focus upon non-bus users. Results of this research show that Bus Quality Partnerships, when introduced as a stand-alone policy, struggle to achieve significant modal shift or reduce traffic congestion. Most bus passengers and car users remain unaware of Bus Quality Partnerships.


Journal of Transport Geography home Page: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09666923