Launched in September 2009, the bus industry’s Greener Journeys campaign is aimed at aimed at encouraging people to get out of their cars and onto buses and coaches.

The campaign, which is led by the UK’s ‘big five’ passenger transport groups – Arriva, FirstGroup, Go Ahead, National Express and Stagecoach – and the Confederation for Passenger Transport, is now making its campaign creative materials freely available to all bus operators and local authorities.

Following the successful rollout of Greener Journeys’ national modal shift campaign – ‘Sometimes you can’t beat the bus’ – an online toolkit has been developed and is now available from the Greener Journeys website.

The toolkit, launched at ATCO’s 2011 Summer Conference in Brighton last week, provides full and free access to a web hub of the various marketing and press adverts, along with radio executions used to support the campaign.

It contains proven materials for delivering modal shift from car to bus, plus guidelines and recommendations on creating and implementing regionally focussed campaigns aimed at encouraging more sustainable travel.

Independent pre-post surveys and an econometric model were used to evaluate the varying effects of this campaign during its initial regional implementation in Exeter, Milton Keynes and Norwich. They looked at passenger trends and travel patterns, general awareness and attitude towards bus travel, buses and related brands, and the propensity for people to use and/or consider using buses as a real alternative to the car.

They revealed:
* 45% of people who saw the advertising campaign agreed that they are now “a lot more or a bit more likely to replace a car journey with a bus journey”;
* 36% of those surveyed had seen or heard of the Greener Journeys campaign;
* 60% agreed that the bus ‘can be better for certain journeys’;
* 64% believed that the campaign was “catchy” with 43% agreeing it was “persuasive”; and
* Across all three pilot regions, radio combined with bus side advertising had the biggest effect on getting people to use or consider using the bus as an alternative to the car.

Speaking on this bus industry first initiative, Greener Journeys’ chief executive, Claire Haigh said; “We are most encouraged by the results of this inaugural campaign. They clearly demonstrate that the strategy and key messages have cut through.

“The campaign has not only lead to more people considering taking the bus for certain journeys in future, but it has also significantly raised the profile of bus travel.”

Campaign manager Christopher Nice added; “The toolkit and supporting creative materials are now freely available to partners from the Greener Journeys website, and we look forward to working closely with local authorities, PTEs and bus operators during all further rollouts of this tried and tested campaign.

“We are confident that together we can continue to position the bus as an attractive alternative to the car whilst demonstrating that sometimes you can’t beat the bus!”

The Greener Journeys campaign promotes modal shift from cars to buses as a quick and cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions. By switching just one journey in 25, the campaign claims that the country can remove one billion car journeys from its roads, and in doing reduce of CO2 by two million tonnes.

It’s not just carbon is cut. Taking the bus rather than the car can also reduce mental stress by a third, according to research carried out for Greener Journeys. The study by Dr David Lewis from The University of Sussex, who coined the term “road rage”, found that motorists face a hidden mental health impact from the stresses of driving, while bus travel can produce long term health benefits.

For the experiment, the heart rate and EDR (Electro-Dermal Response) of 30 commuters was measured when taking similar journeys by car and bus. The findings reveal a vast difference in EDR, a form of biophysical measurement that Dr Lewis describes as an excellent indicator of mental stress.

When examining the EDR results, the experiment found that taking the car produced much greater amounts of stress than taking the bus, which was 33% less stressful.

Tim O’Toole, chief executive of FirstGroup, the UK’s largest bus and rail operator, commented: “Encouraging people to make the switch from car to bus is a key aim for all operators. Travelling on buses is very often cheaper and quicker than cars, not to mention much better for the environment and city centre congestion.

“Greener Journeys, which is funded by the UK’s major bus operators, is doing a fantastic job highlighting those sorts of messages and persuading many car users to make the modal shift.”

Arriva chief executive David Martin said: “Working together through Greener Journeys, we’re taking a joined-up approach as an industry to make more people consider using the bus when planning a journey.

“The suite of persuasive marketing materials available online will enable partners to create engaging campaigns which make the case for modal shift and help demonstrate the benefits to people of switching journeys from car to bus.”