Research Output
Identifying Barriers To The Implementation Of Bus Policy At A Local Level In Great Britain Using A Decision Support Framework
  The current debate on transport policy in the UK is focused on the need for a sustainable transport system. Buses play a vital role in achieving this, as they are the most frequently used and most accessible mode of public transport. However, the literature shows that the delivery of sustainable transport policies is not producing the desired outcomes (Hull, 2009) and the application of such policies in real situations remains inconsistent. This is evident across the UK where there has been a decrease in bus patronage and bus mileage. To address this gap, the aim of this research is to identify why bus policies are not imple-mented successfully at a local level and to provide recommendations for implementation and decision making that will aid policy makers, local authority staff, regional transport partnerships, bus operating companies and other practitioners working within the field of transport.
A mixed methodology was chosen for this research and is divided into three key stages to address the research problem. The first methodology included an online ques-tionnaire and 143 questionnaires were sent to all public transport officers in Great Britain. 80 surveys were returned giving a response rate of 56%. The second methodology in-cluded telephone interviews conducted with 10 of those public transport officers who responded to the questionnaire in order to elicit a deeper understanding of the results, which could not be achieved from the questionnaire results alone. Finally, the third meth-odology included four case studies on specific bus schemes within Great Britain. These case studies were the Quality Contract Scheme in Tyne and Wear, Fastlink Scheme in Glasgow, Bus Priority Scheme in Solihull and Smart Ticketing Scheme in Dundee. While the questionnaires and telephone interviews provide an overview of bus policy imple-mentation across Great Britain, the multiple case studies were required to investigate the topic in depth, thus identifying the greatest barriers to bus policy implementation. Anal-ysis of the three sets of data is based on the application of a new decision support frame-work developed in this research.
The findings in this thesis reveal that local authorities in Great Britain are under-performing in the implementation of bus policy due to the barriers they face. The greatest barriers to implementation include the lack of a policy document; the characteristics of the organisation; availability of resources; intra-organisation support and communication; economic, social and political environments; and opposition, conflict, and ambiguities. Overall, this research has identified several concerns with bus policy implementation. The most obvious concern is the unclear link between policy objectives and measures and the setting and monitoring of performance targets. Meanwhile, the deregulation of the bus sector in the UK means that, in some cases, a lack of control over the implementation of certain measures places limits on policy implementation and results in the frequent im-plementation of policy measures that are achievable rather than those that are necessary to the achievement of policy objectives. The findings from this research also help policy-makers and transport planners to predict what makes implementation successful and to address problems and issues through improved policies and regulations, as well as to an-ticipate and plan for likely barriers. Moreover, addressing these barriers can help tackle the decline in bus mileage and bus usage across Great Britain.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    01 November 2018

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    HE Transportation and Communications

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    388 Transportation; ground transportation

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


McTigue, C. Identifying Barriers To The Implementation Of Bus Policy At A Local Level In Great Britain Using A Decision Support Framework. (Thesis). Edinburgh Napier University. Retrieved from



Transport policy, sustainability, bus policy, case study

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