School bus signage pilot for Glasgow

High-visibility signs with improved features will be trialled on certain school buses in the region as part of the pilot.

The Scottish Government will provide evaluation support to Glasgow City Council in order to build a robust evidence base assessing the benefits of enhanced school bus signage. The findings will be used to explore how best to promote and support implementation by local authorities more widely across Scotland.

The pilot will take place over the coming months and will build on the previous work undertaken in Aberdeenshire which led to the local authority-wide roll-out of enhanced signage.

Transport Minister Keith Brown said:

“There can be no greater responsibility than the protection of our young people and we are committed to keeping them safe on the journey to school. We recognise that enhanced school bus signage can play a key role, yet the power to legislate in this area rests with Westminster and we are disappointed that the UK Government has refused our requests to take action or to devolve the necessary powers to Scotland.

“The Scottish Government is taking forward a range of measures to improve the safety on dedicated school transport. Thankfully the risk of children being seriously injured on bus journeys is small. Yet there is no room for complacency and we remain steadfast in our efforts.

“Ensuring that school buses have clear and visible signs which display that they are carrying young people is a vital part of that safety drive.

“We have undertaken a range of work to promote best practice in this area, including encouraging local authorities to embrace high-visibility signage and I am pleased Glasgow City Council has agreed to undertake this pilot. These efforts can build on our work to improve safety measures, such as our plans to make seatbelts a legal requirement on all dedicated school transport following devolution of the necessary powers from Westminster.”

Councillor Alistair Watson, executive member for Land & Environmental Services, Glasgow City Council, said:

“The number of children injured on Glasgow’s roads has been consistently falling in recent years.

“However, any casualties on our roads is still too many which is why Glasgow City Council is leading the pilot for this scheme.

“We will experiment with a variety of methods to deliver a detailed evaluation on the best way forward.”

Notes to editors

Designated buses and coaches that are used for journeys to and from school are legally required to display distinctive retro-reflective yellow school bus signs at the front and rear of the bus. Transport Minister Keith Brown wrote to the UK Government last year asking for legislation which sets this minimum requirement to be strengthened, or for the necessary powers to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, allowing more robust requirements to be set. This was refused.

Transport Scotland’s Guide to Improving School Transport outlines how the minimum legally required bus sign can be improved upon and local authorities should look to use larger, more conspicuous signs.

Glasgow’s pilot will see a number of dedicated school transport buses fitted with enhanced signs with high-visibility reflective materials to assess the effectiveness and explore their impact on driver behaviour.

Aberdeenshire pilot

Aberdeenshire Council (AC) took forward a pilot of improved school transport signage in 2010 to increase motorists’ awareness to the presence of school buses and the possible presence of pupils boarding and alighting. The new signs included high-visibility reflective materials, inclusion of the words ‘School Bus’ and chevrons to increase the visibility of the sign and assist in highlighting the pictogram.

Following the successful pilot of enhanced school transport signage by AC, a scheme has been rolled out across the local authority area whereby the use of new signs with improved features are conditions of contracts with operators. All bus companies which have secured contracts with Aberdeenshire Council now use the signs.

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Published 4 Nov 2014