A bright future in store for the bus

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The word "bus” stems from the Latin "omnibus" -  for all. This is reflected in the bus’ flexibility to serve small markets and response to demand needs with adaptability to local conditions, flexibility to provide mobility for all and as an essential feeder service to rail at higher urban densities.

The humble bus has long since suffered from a certain image problem deficit. It has often been perceived as noisy, slow and unreliable and it has long been assimilated to a polluting mode; however, they now have new assets that allow them to claim more attention from Organising Authorities and the general public.

The bus is cheap in terms of investment; it is rather flexible in terms of network design and response to demand needs. It can claim to be clean. In the last decade a genuine ‘propulsion supermarket’ of alternative fuels and drive trains has emerged, offering a wide variety of clean fuel options to improve air quality, overcome noise pollution and meet additional policy targets set by the authorities. The hybrid bus and e-bus are part of the range of options available, with the latter opening up new prospects for the electrification of diesel bus lines (see UITP’s Zero Emission Urban Bus Systems project). From a passenger perspective, low-floor technology has made buses easy accessible and thus more appealing as a mode of transport. It can carry bigger capacities than ever in its history (double articulated buses and BHLS-BRT)

The bus’ role in providing vital public transportation services has been well documented by UITP but is it possible for the bus to continue to grow on street networks that are already saturated? Does increasing the bus’ share in the modal split actually help to reduce urban traffic congestion?

These are questions that cities around the world are currently posing. To help provide some answers to these questions and provide a forum for knowledge exchange, UITP is organising its 8th International Bus Conference this November in Rio de Janeiro. In line with UITP’s ‘Grow’ campaign, the Conference will examine how bus networks around the world are on the way to achieving the ambition of doubling public transport’s market share by 2025 as well as looking at various other operational and technological solutions that will help to further enhance the image of the bus.

The event will also look at how buses can play a key role in helping cities cope with large punctual increases in demand due to major events such as the Olympics and the football World Cup. Running alongside the 16th Etransport Conference and the 10th Fetransrio Exhibition, this event is an unmissable event for anyone with an interest in the role that the bus has to play in tomorrow’s cities.


Contact: Arno Kerkhof, Head of Bus Division - arno.kerkhof(at)uitp.org

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