Report shows impact of buses on reducing social deprivation




Improving local bus services boosts employment and improves income, helping to reduce social deprivation, according to a new report published this week by Greener Journeys, the sustainable transport lobby group.

The report responds to the changing political agenda in the wake of last June’s Brexit vote, with the government promising to make the UK “a country that works for everyone”.

Conducted by KPMG and the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds, the research investigates and quantifies for the first time the impact of bus services on tackling social deprivation. It finds that 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.

It also 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;

The report, The Value of the Bus to Society, demonstrates the important role that buses have in helping to reduce social deprivation in the UK, where one in four people is at risk of social exclusion, and one in four people do not have access to a car.

It builds on existing research by Greener Journeys which shows that buses bring huge economic benefits to the UK.

Among its recommendations, Greener Journeys is calling on policy makers 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.

Analysis by KPMG found that wider social impacts of buses add over 30% to the benefit-cost ratio of bus investments.

Katie Schmuecker, head of policy, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, commented: “As this report shows, buses play a central part in fighting poverty.


This article appears inside the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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