Transport for London (TfL) have published their latest report on Travel in London. It shows that Sadiq Khan’s Transport Strategy is a complete failure.
The Mayor has a target of 80% of journeys to be via active travel modes (which even includes bus journeys). But in fact the number or trips by walking and cycling was only 31% in Q3 2022. That is only slightly higher than the 27% in the pre-pandemic 2019 year.
People are still avoiding public transport because covid is still prevalent and more people have changed travel patterns to work partly from home or have flexible working hours which probably accounts for the small increase in walking/cycling. But it is clear that the overall use of active travel modes has not changed much in the last two years and any changes have been influenced more by the covid epidemic and higher taxes on private cars and higher public transport fares.
You can see the actual London mode share trends in the chart above.
The targets for active travel physical activity are not being met. The report says “results suggest that the proportion of Londoners achieving the target decreased during the pandemic, with quarterly estimates ranging from 33 to 37 per cent”.
These numbers did not stop some media reports claiming that cycling had increased by 40%. This is a complete lie based on using selective data. Cycling still only accounts for about 3% of all trips and is heavily influenced by weather conditions. The UK went through a very dry period this year but the last two months have been the exact opposite and is not in the above data.
Public transport use remains low and significantly below the pre-pandemic level which is a major problem for TfL’s finances as they rely on fare income particularly from buses. The Mayor was going to reduce the bus network to save money but has now taken a U-Turn on that idea which he will surely live to regret.
TfL are forecasting a greater shift to on-line shopping with people making fewer and more local shopping trips. They also foresee an increase in LGV trips associated with home deliveries except in central London and a drop in HGV trips due to reduced construction, general haulage and retail activity. The trend to have few private car trips in London will continue, replaced by the use of taxis, PHVs and internet shopping delivery vehicles.
The TfL report also gives some data on road casualties. Here again the Mayor’s “Vision Zero” policy is not working. The figures are distorted by the reductions in vehicle traffic during the pandemic but the report says: “2021 was an unusual year with large changes in the composition of people regrettably killed or seriously injured. This was largely due to new travel patterns in the wake of the pandemic. Motorcycling and pedestrian fatalities were significantly lower by historic standards but cycling fatalities and serious injuries increased”.
The Mayor’s promotion of cycling has actually resulted in relatively small increases in cycling but large increases in KSIs involving cyclists. Cycling is intrinsically more dangerous than other transport modes but cyclists won’t listen. The Mayor is unlikely to reach the targets for KSIs in 2022.
The increase in cycling speeds promoted by cycling fanatics and supported by cycle superhighways together with increases in electric bikes and e-scooters are proving to be negative influences.
A very disappointing report showing the negative trends on mobility in London. Will the Mayor change his stance? We doubt it because his Transport Strategy was always based on dogma rather than rational analysis.
TfL report here: https://board.tfl.gov.uk/documents/s19181/Travel%20in%20London%2015%20Overview.pdf
Our campaign against the Mayor’s Transport Strategy: https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/against-mts
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