The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has set out wide-ranging plans to transform London’s transport network.
The capital’s population is expected to rise to 10.5 million by 2041 – creating five million additional journeys every day. The Mayor believes it is vital that action is taken to avoid growing congestion, overcrowding, pollution and ill health. Investment in new and improved services for passengers, an unprecedented focus on walking/cycling, and a pledge to make the entire transport system ‘zero emission’ are central to his first draft Transport Strategy.
Transport For London will work to make London’s entire road transport system zero emission by 2050. A phased approach will see the creation of central London and town centre zero emission zones from 2025, a zero emission zone in inner London by 2040 and a London-wide zone by 2050. TfL is aiming for all taxis and PHVs to be zero emission-capable by 2033 and buses by 2037.
However, the draft document states that it will require the Government to incentivise the uptake of zero emission vehicles and provide funding, to ensure there is sufficient and appropriate charging and refuelling infrastructure.
The Mayor has also signalled the possibility of a per-mile charge for city driving, based on the time of travel, congestion and vehicle emissions. The FTA believes this could be a positive step for freight operators – provided they don’t simply add cost, are well planned and take advantage of new technology.
“The Congestion Charge has arguably played a role in suppressing traffic demand in central London, but FTA has always argued that it is a blunt tool which fails to recognise the essential role that freight plays in serving London’s businesses, residents and visitors,” Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London, said. “New and emerging technology could play a pivotal part in providing a more sophisticated system that accounts for the essential role of the vehicle and the time of day and incentivises cleaner vehicles.”
The Mayor wants to reduce freight traffic in central London by 10% by 2026. The FTA believes this is an unrealistic target given the needs of London’s growing population and the Mayor’s agenda on demanding HGVs change shape to increase direct vision – a change which may cost load space, thus requiring more vehicles on London’s roads.
“It costs so much to deliver into London that the road freight industry is already highly load-efficient,” Natalie Chapman said. “There may be some benefits from further consolidation we can gain, but these will be outweighed by the needs of London’s larger population. The real gains in traffic management will come from private car use – if car users can be enabled or encouraged to switch to public transport, cycling or walking then London’s transport network could become exponentially more efficient.”
The draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy is open to public consultation until 2 October and can be accessed at www.tfl.gov.uk/mayors-transport-strategy