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How does public transport affect the performance of centres and streets?

Public transport has an important role in centres. Research shows that the delivery of intensity of use and mixed use improves the performance of public transport. Where streets are activated by retail stores, intensity of use and mixed use is generally a feature of the centre. In town centre planning, integrated, mixed use centres are required in order to optimise the performance of public transport. However the location of public transport stops can have both negative and positive effects on centres and streets and a balance needs to be found between the often conflicting priorties of public transport performance (especially travel time) and centre performance.

crows nest bus priorityredWe need to be careful with buses to ensure that the stops, whilst convenient do not unduly affect the immediate retail environment. Bus stops can in some case be pulled beyond the parking lane and stop momentarily in the travel lane to pick up and let off passengers. This, like signals, platoons the traffic and allows informal crossing of the street by pedestrians (see image). However such an outcome is not suited to all streets and is not universally popular with traffic engineers (which is usually a good sign).

Public transport stops should always be in high exposure and safe locations in centres. This may not mean that they should always be in the core.