The bus network is relatively dynamic in its ability to respond to changes in passenger demand, unlike other public transport services that utilise fixed infrastructure.

Why plan?

Passenger demand from new development can affect the bus network in two main ways. Firstly, there may be increased demand on existing services, which require greater capacity provision. Secondly, demand may require new or extended routes to provide new passenger links. TfL's bus service planning guidelines set out TfL's objectives and approach in planning London's bus network to efficiently meet passenger demand.

Requirements for your planning application

Transport assessments (TAs) should provide bus trip generation figures by time and by direction, with the peak hour indicated separately. The trip generation figures by direction should consider the existing bus network - for example, 'by direction' may not simply be 'to the east', but could be 'to the nearest town centre', which may effectively be assigning trips to a specific corridor. TfL planners will use this information to assess the impact of development, considering the cumulative impact of the development.

Where information on existing usage levels and demand patterns is necessary, for example when developing a business case for new transport infrastructure, TfL can provide data on bus loading and usage patterns.  Additional data may also be required by TfL to enable an accurate assessment of the development's impact, for instance postcode data indicating a school's catchment area.

Information on the standard of bus stops in the site vicinity must be provided by the applicant, to enable TfL to assess whether the additional demands placed on the bus network arising from the development requires an upgrade to the bus stops to meet current accessibility standards. To be fully accessible, bus stops should have suitable kerb heights, adequate footway space, and carriageway clearance in accordance with TfL accessible bus stop design guidance (2006) (PDF 3.3MB). The Pedestrian Environment Review System (PERS) audit may also assist with providing information on the standard of footways around bus stops.

Provision of realtime information screens within developments is possible, and can be delivered alongside realtime information for other modes of transport and as a package of improvements for the bus stop environment.

Where the impact of the development is such that new or extended bus routes will be required, the developer will be expected to both fund and provide the land if required for the infrastructure to support the expanded bus network. This can be in the form of new bus stops and bus shelters, stands (layover spaces), additional road infrastructure to enable buses to access the site, dedicated road space to enable buses to turn, or supporting infrastructure such as bus driver mess rooms or toilets.

A section 106 contribution, works-in-kind or land may be identified to provide the necessary capacity and/or infrastructure to meet demand from new development, or to enable a route extension or new route. This may require a separate legal agreement between the applicant and TfL. Or, in the case of contributions for bus services, the local planning authority may seek a sponsored route agreement with TfL. This will agree the applicant-funded service improvements. Further details of the sponsored route agreement are available in this document:

Any effect on bus operations or infrastructure should be avoided during construction. Where this is not possible, any proposed temporary closures of stops or stands during development construction phases must be discussed and agreed with TfL in advance. Alternative facilities must be provided and funded by the developer for the duration of the closure, in agreement with TfL and the local planning authority and the mechanism for agreeing such facilities must be set out in the section 106 agreement. The existing facilities must be made good by the developer following the conclusion of the construction period.