DEVON County Council (DCC)has approved a scheme in Newton Abbot aimed at improving the reliability of bus services and cutting journey times.

The scheme hopes to encourage more people to use bus services.

The Newton Abbot scheme will focus on a route through the town centre, from Penn Inn roundabout on the A381, along Torquay Road, to Halcyon Road / Kingsteignton Road towards Balls Corner Roundabout.

The corridor services 28 different bus services, totalling more than 200 buses per a day on Kingsteignton Road and approximately 40 buses a day across Torquay Road.

Proposals include changes at existing signalised junctions and crossings to improve bus priority, including measures that would extend the green traffic signal when a bus is detected thus reducing the waiting time of a queuing bus.

At the meeting of DCC’s Cabinet on Wednesday, July 10, councillors gave the schemes the go-ahead.

Similar schemes for Exeter and Barnstaple were also approved.

The schemes will cost in total approximately £2.8m and follows the council being awarded £14.1m of Bus Service Improvement Plan funding by the Department for Transport in 2022.

All the schemes are subject to the resolution of the traffic regulation order and funding being confirmed.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highway Management said: ‘The proposals before you are a great example of how Devon is modernising the way it manages its highway network on our busiest bus corridors.

‘Technological upgrades to optimise our traffic signals on key bus routes in Exeter, Newton Abbot and Barnstaple will help improve bus journey times and fulfil our statutory network management duty.

‘Wider upgrades to our traffic control system with cameras in Exeter and Newton Abbot will also help our network operations team better monitor and manage the signals when incidents occur which will benefit all road users.

‘There will also be upgrades to variable message signing on the selected corridors in Exeter to influence driver behaviour.

‘This may include positive messaging to encourage mode shift or alerting drivers of upcoming events or congestion.

The proposals will allow us to manage our highway network more intelligently and keep people moving.’