Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Bus services and social deprivation

New ground-breaking research by ITS and KPMG has quantified for the first time the relationship between bus services and social deprivation.

The Value of the Bus to Society report, commissioned by Greener Journeys, demonstrates the role that buses have in helping to reduce social deprivation in the UK, where 1 in 4 people is at risk of social exclusion, and 1 in 4 people do not have access to a car. It reveals that improving bus services boosts jobs and income for UK’s poorest people.

A 10% improvement in local bus services is linked to a 3.6% reduction in social deprivation across England, taking into account employment, income, life expectancy and skills.

The research concludes that a 10% improvement in local bus services in the 10% most deprived neighbourhoods across England would result in:

  • 9,909 more jobs, the result of a 2.7% fall in employment deprivation;
  • 22,647 people with increased income, the result of a 2.8% drop in income deprivation;
  • 2,596 fewer years of life lost;
  • 7, 313 more people with adult skills;
  • 0.7% increase in post-16 education.
Report download
Report download

“If the Government is to meet its promise of making the UK a country that works for everyone, we must solve the problem of poverty in this country. As this report shows, buses play a central part in fighting poverty, keeping those on lower incomes or the unemployed, connected to economic opportunities. A good bus service can make the difference to whether someone can sustain a job, access vital public services or shop around for low cost goods and services.”

Katie Schmuecker, Head of Policy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation.

The report presents the findings of a study that aimed to identify, articulate and quantify the economic, social and environmental impacts of frequent and reliable local bus services, considering the impact that bus services have on the ability of households to participate in economic and social activities and ultimately on levels of economic, social and environmental deprivation.

It builds on existing research by Greener Journeys which shows that buses bring huge economic benefits to the UK. Some 3.5 million people in the UK travel to work by bus, and these commuters generate more than £64 billion worth of goods and services per year.  Furthermore, proper investment in local bus infrastructure delivers vast rewards, with every £1 spent on local bus priority measures delivering up to £7 in economic benefit. About Greener Journeys Greener Journeys is a campaign dedicated to encouraging people to make more sustainable travel choices. It is a coalition of the UK’s leading public transport organizations, user groups and supporters.  It aims to reduce CO2 emissions from transport by encouraging people to switch some of their car journeys to bus or coach instead. Switching from car to bus for just one journey a month would mean one billion fewer car journeys on our roads and would save 2 million tonnes of CO2 every year.   Among its recommendations, Greener Journeys is calling on Government to prioritise investment in buses and local bus infrastructure. It is also asking decision makers to consider the wider social benefits of projects when appraising transport schemes and investment cases. www.greenerjourneys.com