Bus lanes, designated as “Greenways”, for use only by buses and taxi cabs during specified peak times on all main routes to and from the city.
The "Greenways" scheme, along with other public transport initiatives, was introduced with the aim of restoring the balance of car use and public transport. The "Greenways" primary aim is to improve the reliability and speed of bus services.
It aims to cut bus journey times by at least 10% and thus to encourage more people to abandon the car in favour of the speedier and more reliable bus services. At the same time, it will be helping to achieve the Council’s objectives of reducing pollution, as buses are many times ‘cleaner’ per passenger. "Greenways" is an integral part of the Council’s "moving FORWARD" strategy which aims both to develop an efficient public transport system and also to create a "Safer, Cleaner and Better" environment in which the city’s inhabitants and businesses can prosper.

Key elements of the scheme, include
- Greenways bus lanes were painted green and made highly visible
- Large explanatory road signs have been placed at the start of the routes; which are marked by continuous double or single "no stopping" red lines at the edge of the route
- New parking and loading bays, with new regulations, have been established

Resources needed

£500,000 per km.

Evidence of success

Improved bus journey times and increased bus patronage along with reduced car numbers. For example, within the SEStran area, comprising over 25% of all Scottish vehicle-km, traffic has reduced by 3.5% from 2007 to 2012.

Difficulties encountered

The practice is potentially controversial so wide consultation advised.

Potential for learning or transfer

Be consistent with operational times on all routes to avoid driver confusion. Can be a benefit to cyclists but need to watch conflict with buses. Permitted taxis need to be recognisable black cabs to ease enforcement. Effective enforcement is essential.

Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.

Main institution
City of Edinburgh Council
Eastern Scotland, United Kingdom
Start Date
July 1997
End Date


Catriona Macdonald Please login to contact the author.

Good Practices being followed by

Andrea Vignoli

Italian National Association of Cities and Municipalities - Lazio