London’s world class transport system – under threat from austerity?

By | Category: Travel news, Travel tips & opinions

A new report, ‘World Class? London’s Transport: Progress and Future Challenges’, has concluded that despite room for improvement in air pollution, cycling safety, climate change, public transport fares and allocation of road space, London’s transport system is world class. However, the report warns that funding must be found to secure and build on improvements and to tackle the future challenges the system faces due to significant population growth and increased transport capacity demand in the Capital.

The report, one of the most comprehensive recent studies of London’s transport system, was written by ProfessorDavid Begg and uses data gathered from a survey of 3,500 London transport professionals. It highlights the following elements of London’s transport system as ‘world class’:

the performance of the transport system during London 2012

the extensive and often undervalued bus network

the record high performance of the Tube and the good progress made in upgrading a 150 year old asset

the impressive transformation of the London Overground Network

customer information, marketing and ticketing

traffic flow management on the road network; congestion charging and the Low Emission Zone.


The report also outlines potential areas for improvement with a critical assessment of cycling noting that despite rapid growth, travel by bicycle still only accounts for two per cent of journeys. At the same time, cyclists account for 20 per cent of road casualties, a number which rose by a staggering 50 per cent between 2006 and 2011.

The report also raises concerns about London’s poor air quality, which causes almost 4.500 premature deaths per year. While current policies have successfully lowered CO2 emissions, London needs to press on with reducing overall traffic levels, building the infrastructure for electric car use and increasing the use of public transport, walking and cycling. Professor Begg calls for more road space for cyclists, pedestrians and buses as well as the re-introduction of a “roads hierarchy” to encourage growth of those sustainable forms of transport.

Professor David Begg said: “Over the past 12 years there has been a transformation in the quality and capacity of transport across the capital and despite room for improvement in some areas, transport services in the capital are now running at a very high standard. Our survey shows that many transport professionals in the Capital agree, with 73 per cent rating many elements of the system as either excellent or very good. Continued investment in London’s world class transport system is imperative to prevent any decline.”


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