11 Public Transport and other sustainable transport options
The project has objectives to increase travel choices and improve integration across modes to encourage modal shift of people and goods and to improve accessibility and social inclusion.
In providing facilities for sustainable transport initiatives, such as bus priority, it is important that the proposals should not significantly disadvantage other travellers. Priority measures for buses must not significantly impact on capacity for general purpose vehicles or artificially seek to slow down general traffic. In practice, this means that bus priority measures would be most practical where sufficient infrastructure exists.
The potential for high occupation vehicle lanes, that is lanes reserved for light vehicles with more than one occupant, has also been considered. Experience has shown that these are best suited to roads which have the following features:
- High traffic volumes and congestion, where the high occupation vehicle facility offers a journey time advantage.
- Interurban roads, with long spacing between junctions, to allow high occupation vehicle lanes to be safely operated and allow traffic to safely join and leave each high occupation vehicle lane. Each high occupation vehicle lane should have at least 500 metres between the start or finish of the high occupation vehicle lane and the nearest road entry or exit slip.
The network around the Forth Crossing is characterised by the close spacing of junctions. This feature poses restrictions to the feasibility of operating high occupation vehicle lanes effectively. As a consequence, it was determined that the focus was to align the Managed Crossing Scheme with key initiatives emerging from the Strategic Transport Project Review (STPR) which have the objective of making better use of existing road capacity in association with targeted infrastructure improvements; including:
- New strategic Park & Ride / Park & Choose sites to encourage the use of public transport at strategic access points to Edinburgh.
- Intelligent Transport Systems on the motorway and trunk road network to improve journey times and support Park & Ride and Park & Choose strategies.
- Light Rapid Transit between Edinburgh and Fife, which could include provision of a bus based rapid transport capacity between Fife and Edinburgh.
The Managed Crossing Scheme offers significant opportunities for complementary measures by local transport authorities which can address scheme and wider transport objectives. The principal facility close to the crossing is the successful Ferrytoll Park & Ride site. This may be complemented by further Park & Ride or Park & Choose facilities north of the crossing such as at Halbeath and Rosyth.
There is also an opportunity for the local transport authority to develop a new Park & Ride facility at South Queensferry, south of Echline junction.
The viability of these sites will be enhanced with the availability of the existing bridge for use by public transport and the journey time and journey reliability benefits that this brings.
Although there are limitations on the capacity of park and ride sites and the number of trips that can be practicably catered for by public transport, the addition and expansion of facilities can make significant contributions to meeting travel demand during the busiest periods. As an illustration, after proving successful, with the original 500 space car park regularly reaching near capacity, Ferrytoll has been expanded to provide over 1000 car parking spaces. This number of spaces is significant when set in the context of a morning peak hour southbound flow on the M90/A90 and Forth Road Bridge of around 3,500 vehicles.
11.2 Analysis of Bus Movements
Recognising that the Managed Crossing Scheme offers the advantage to buses of the use of the existing bridge without conflict with general traffic, consideration has been given to current and possible future service patterns in the design of the connecting roads. This seeks to maximise bus journey time advantages and journey time reliability without prejudice to other users.
The majority of the local services in Fife and the long distance services (Megabus and City Link) have created a small bus hub at Ferrytoll, allowing local and long distance passengers to change onto other services. As a consequence almost all the current services join/leave the A90 at the Ferrytoll junction. Relatively few buses currently travel all the way along the M90/A90 between Halbeath and the Bridge.
To the south of the bridge, there are two movements at present: 3 buses an hour to/from the airport and a further service from Queensferry that uses the A90 towards/from Edinburgh.
All services that cross the bridge are commercial services (i.e. without subsidy from a local authority), with the exception of the 747 route, which is operated under the Bus Route Development Grant scheme. This means that there has been a sliding subsidy over a three year period with the service expected to operate commercially from year 4 and onwards; it is currently in the third and final year of subsidy.
There are at least 3 Park & Ride/Choose sites that are planned to be implemented, with others being discussed by Local Authorities. The 3 planned sites at Halbeath, Rosyth Station and Winchburgh are shown on Figure 11.1.
Whilst the final decision on implementation has yet to be taken, consultation with Fife Council has indicated that:
- Services from the proposed Halbeath site are expected to run direct down the M90 and A90 towards Edinburgh at approximately 10 to 15 minute intervals. They may visit Ferrytoll as part of the route.
- The proposed Rosyth Station site will provide a choice between rail and existing bus services; i.e. no new/dedicated services will serve the site, and the assumption is, therefore, that it will primarily be a car to rail interchange, rather than to bus.
Consultation with West Lothian Council indicates that:
- There are plans for 2 Park and Ride sites at Winchburgh. One will be a rail based park and ride, the other will feature dedicated/direct bus services into Edinburgh.
- Given the potential employment opportunities to be provided as part of the wider Winchburgh development, West Lothian has aspirations to run a service to/from Fife for workers.
At the time of writing, the services for these new park and ride/choose sites have yet to be decided.
Figure 11.1: Bus Routes and Frequency 2008 Services