Renowned national transport commentator Professor David Begg has dubbed the city one of the most enlightened places for transport in the UK and the council’s working partnership with bus operators as a beacon for other authorities.
The professor made the comments as part of his keynote speech at a workshop held at the i360 to discuss a strategy to take Brighton & Hove towards a clean air city.
The event, which was the initiative of Brighton & Hove Buses, was attended by the city’s bus operators, leaders of each political group, council officers from across services including transport, environment and public health departments and Andy Eastlake, Managing Director of the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership.
In terms of transport, Professor Begg said the city was known for being ‘brave, bold and doing the right thing’. He highlighted the A259 bus lane as one of the most successful bus priority measures in the UK. He also said the number of Euro 6 standard buses (nearly emissions-free) that now make up a third of Brighton & Hove Buses’ fleet surpasses anywhere else in the UK.
Delegates discussed challenges for the future which include dealing with the ‘big problem of congestion’.
Brighton & Hove Buses’ Managing Director Martin Harris said: “Journey times have been getting longer because of growing congestion. Every year we spend around £1 million adding four new buses to the network just to maintain the same level of service.
“David Begg urged us to set targets for bus journey times which have been falling in the city at a rate that’s twice as fast as the national average. This would help us all to put in place the strategies needed to keep buses moving effectively enough to become a more viable transport choice.”
Delegates discussed a need to focus on behaviour change and discouraging personal transport by providing clean public alternatives, emissions from freight, and designing the city to make it easier and more attractive to walk, cycle or take public transport.