London mayor, Sadiq Khan, published a draft transport strategy on 21 June 2017 for public consultation at london.gov.uk/transportstrategy. The consultation will be open until 2 October 2017.
According to the mayor, London faces three main challenges:
- Londoner’s high reliance on cars to move around. Cars take up a lot of space relative to the number of people they can move around, and reliance on this space-inefficient mode of transport has made London’s streets some of the most congested in the world. Cars also cause pollution, make streets unpleasant places to be and delay public transport journeys, as well as freight and commercial trips.
- Poor public transport experience. The combination of unreliable rail service, overcrowding on rails and tube networks, unpredictable bus journey times and poor transport connections in some areas of London means that Londoners are often frustrated when using public transport services.
- London’s population growth. With a current population of 8.7 million, London is forecast to grow to 10.5 million over the next 25 years. This growth is expected to generate more than 5 million additional trips each day by 2041. London’s growth will also require an increasing demand for new, affordable homes but the rate of homebuilding is currently only half what is required. Transport is key to unlocking housing potential.
The central aim of the mayor’s transport strategy is to create a future London that is not only home to more people, but is a better place for all of those people to live in. His vision includes reducing Londoner’s dependency on cars in favour of increased walking, cycling and public transport use.
Healthy Streets and healthy people
The Mayor believes that improving the experience of being on London’s streets will have a huge impact on people’s quality of life. Attractive street environments will encourage people to walk more, which is physically and mentally healthy. Reducing car use will lower harmful emissions, and the trees and other greenery that make streets pleasant places to be improve London’s resilience to climate change. A city that is made up of appealing streets and places will also attract big businesses and their employees.
In its report Keeping West London Moving (p 40), the West London Transport & Infrastructure Policy Commission recommended the definition of the Future Cycle Network for West London to enable targeted investment. This aligns with Figure 4 and Proposal 3 of the draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy:
- Enabling active, inclusive and safe travel, by providing accessible, well-designed space for walking and cycling
A good public transport experience
9 million trips are made every day by bus, tram, Tube, train and river boat in London. The use of the public transport system has increased by 65 % since 2000 largely because of enhanced services and an improve customer experience.
As London grows, the public transport system will need to cater for up to around 15 million trip every day by 2041.
According to the mayor, London’s public transport services can become a more appealing option than car use by:
- Improving affordability and customer service so services that are easier to use are available to everyone
- Improving public transport accessibility so the whole public transport network becomes easier and more convenient to use of more people
- Shaping and growing the bus network to provide convenient, reliable, accessible public transport options where they are needed
- Improving rail services and tackling crowding to make the most efficient way of moving people over longer distances more reliable, comfortable and appealing.
West London Business is pleased to see the Dudding Hill line included in Figure 29. The West London Transport & Infrastructure Policy Commission believes that this railway line, running from Hounslow to Cricklewood, holds out the potential for particularly striking impact to provide improved orbital public transport connectivity in West London (Keeping West London Moving, recommendation 2:1).
New homes and jobs
To meet the demand of the growing population, experts say that land will need to be identified in London for the building of at least 50,000 homes every year between now and 2041.
According to the mayor, the transport network has a crucial role to play in delivering new and affordable homes, as well as jobs, mainly by:
- Shaping the type of growth in London, using transport services to create high-density, mixed-use places where people can walk and cycle to local amenities, and use public transport for longer trips.
- Shaping the city, using transport to support and direct good growth, so the potential for new jobs and homes in underdeveloped parts of the city can be unlocked.