Major public transport improvements, designed to span the entire length of Lewes Road in Brighton, have served to underline the confidence of Brighton and Hove City Council in the quality of Brett Landscaping’s market leading Kassel bus boarding kerb.
The Brett solution has been installed as part of an ongoing programme now in its 15th year, which has improved road infrastructure in the city to support progressive efforts to make public transport efficient and accessible for all. The Lewes Road project, at 3.6 miles, represents the council’s biggest single installation of Kassel and will service this vital route along Brighton’s academic corridor.
Kassel kerbs have been considered must-have materials by the council, since research conducted at University College London in 1998 concluded that it was the most ‘fit for purpose,’ especially when used with modern low-floor buses. One of the first local authorities to act on the research, Brighton and Hove City Council has now installed Kassel kerbing to enhance passenger access to and from bus services along many of their key routes.
Richard Johnson, Public Transport Officer at Brighton and Hove City Council has been instrumental in the decision to utilise Kassel from Brett Landscaping over the course of a decade and a half. By working with the UCL Institute of Transport Studies, he anticipated how low-floor buses would shape the future of public bus transport.
“The decisions we made 15 years ago based on this research have helped to save time and money in the long term, by improving the travel experience for passengers and driving conditions for bus drivers.”
In particular, the combination of low-floor buses and Kassel kerbs improves access for those with mobility needs, such as the disabled and passengers with young children, while also speeding up journey times – all of which add to an improved public transport experience, and achieving the goal of encouraging more people to use public transport rather than drive private cars.
Accordingly, working in partnership with the bus operators, the city has more than doubled the number of bus passengers since 1993 and is sustaining a 4-5% growth in users every year.
Richard Johnson explains:
“The Kassel kerbs from Brett Landscaping play an integral part in that, because, put simply, the materials meet the needs of buses and their passengers. Installed correctly, the use of these kerbs reduces the extent of cage markings – the yellow road marks which indicate where a bus should stop – and enables drivers to gauge the perfect stopping location to successfully and safely drop and collect passengers, without ‘swinging in’.
“When combined with bus stop ‘boarders’ (build-outs) the kerbs can also help to prevent motorists from illegally parking on bus stop areas.”
As a matter of course, the council has continued to research other kerb alternatives, but no solution has been as robust in terms of overall suitability.
With regard to the latest phase of installation on Lewes Road, progress has been significant. Whilst other elements of the bus stop improvement programme have been made in smaller stages, the Lewes Road project was done as one singular phase, demonstrating how proficient the kerb engineering format has become.
The significant length of the 3.6 mile road has called for improvements to be made at 12 different pairs of bus stops. The route is very well-used, as it serves residential areas as well as Brighton’s academic corridor – the city’s two main Universities and sports stadium.
Buses run along the road 24 hours-a-day, and as the route is so busy, the council has chosen to employ a European design of ‘floating bus stop’ throughout, which is believed to a first for the UK.
Interest from other parties has already been expressed in the new bus stop designs, which use Kassel to create the stop from the road inward, with a cycle lane behind. This gives an appearance of the bus stop as a ‘floating island’ within the road, and is said to improve both passenger safety and travel efficiency.
Work is expected to continue on Brighton and Hove’s bus route infrastructure for some time to come with the intention of using the Brett Kassel kerb system for installation throughout.
“This is a product that does its job extremely well, and that’s the reason we’ve continued to install it. There isn’t a kerb comparable in its quality,” concludes Richard Johnson.