Bus Rapid Transit in the UK
The first dedicated busway in the UK opened in Runcorn as long ago as 1971, whilst the new town development in Redditch, also conceived over 30 years ago, featured bus-only links. The latest – the Swansea Metro – opened early in 2009., whilst the much-delayed Cambridge project is now expected to open at the end of the year. Meanwhile, plans are being developed for a wide variety of schemes all over the country.
In this report, published in 2006, we examine the different technology available for developing bus-based rapid transit, and provide details of operational and planned bus-based rapid transit systems in the UK at that date.
As well as looking at the history and development of projects, the report also considers the four basic types of technology being considered for adoption in the UK:
- Busway, using conventional vehicles on a segregated alignment
- Guided busway, again using traditional vehicles, but equipped with a guidance system
- Trolleybus, an electrically powered bus similar to those operated widely in the UK until the late 1960s
- ‘Intermediate mode’, using conventional or articulated vehicles, similar in both design and price to a tram, but with a guidance system fitted.
Bus-based rapid transit schemes currently operate in Bradford, Crawley, Dartford/Gravesend Edinburgh, Ipswich, Leeds, Swansea and Tyne & Wear.
Leeds and Tyne & Wear each have two operational schemes. The schemes vary in their application of the concept, from long segregated stretches of busway (as in Cambridge) to short stretches designed to overcome specific 'pinch points' of congestion. Short sections of busway have been successfully implemented in Bradford, Crawley, Ipswich and Leeds.
Chapter headings in the report include:
- The Busway
- Guided Bus
- The Trolleybus
- Intermediate Mode Systems
- The Case for Bus-Based Rapid Transit
- Development of Bus Based Systems
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