Britpave: The British In-Situ Concrete Paving Association

Improving the reliability and speed of bus journeys

4th April 2017


A new report outlining the socio-economic benefit of bus travel and demonstrating how these benefits can be further enhanced via the provision of concrete guided busways has been published by Britpave, the infrastructure industry group.

Accounting for two out of three public transport journeys, the bus plays an important, and can play an even greater, role in improving local commuting, reducing congestion and carbon emissions and creating more liveable cities. The figures speak for themselves. Bus commuters generate £64 billion in output annually. 33% of city centre visitors made their most recent trip by bus, more than any other mode of transport including the car. Best used bus services in urban areas reduce carbon emissions from road transport by up to 75%.

However, the report ‘The Benefits of Concrete Guided Busways’, points out that the potential of bus travel is being stifled by increased congestion. For example, bus journey times in the West Midlands have increased by 8% over the last seven years. In Oxford, which has one of the UK’s highest level of bus usage, bus speeds have fallen to below 10mph. Furthermore, the forecasted 55% increase in traffic by 2040 could see bus passenger numbers drop by 14% every year putting the future of the bus sector under threat.

Britpave believes that the solution is the guided busway that segregate buses from other road traffic thereby removing the problems of traffic congestion, obstruction from parked vehicles and the use of bus lanes by unauthorised vehicles. This allows the operation of regular bus services that have more reliable and faster journey times which make taking the bus a more attractive travel option.

Concrete guided busways are relatively simple to construct and are cheap in comparison with light rail systems. They typically consist of two 180mm high concrete kerbs set 260mm apart on a concrete roadway. The kerbs act both the guide for the bus and a physical segregation from other traffic. Once in the guideway, the bus is guided by two lateral guide wheels connected to the bus steering mechanism. On leaving the busway the kerbs terminate and release the guided wheels allowing the driver to resume steering.

A recent guided busway project is the Leigh to Ellenbrook guided busway in Greater Manchester. Latest figures from First Manchester which runs the Vantage bus services on the busway, show that patronage of the busway has increased in 45,000 a week with a fifth of passengers having switched to the bus from their cars.

‘The Benefits of Concrete Guided Busways’ is available as a free download from