In a press release in April, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, said "the air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing". The Mayor has been true to his word and the draft Mayor's Transport Strategy (MTS), published on 21 June, outlines his ambitious aim to reduce London's dependency on cars and create a healthier, cleaner London, dubbed the 'Healthy Streets Approach'.
The plan is to cut car journeys by three million a day and for 80% of journeys to be made by waking, cycling or public transport by 2041, an increase from 64% today.
The draft MTS sets out the Mayor's policies and proposals for London transport over the next 25 years, so it is of crucial significance to the travelling public and businesses as well as to those organisations involved in public transport delivery.
The draft MTS is organised around three key themes: 'healthy streets and healthy people', 'a good public transport experience' and 'new homes and jobs'.
Healthy Streets and Healthy People
The Mayor's bold aim is to develop a city that promotes walking and cycling in a safe and pleasant manner and allows the population to get the 20 minutes of daily activity needed to stay healthy.
Poor air-quality and road dangers are to be tackled as these issues are likely to disproportionately affect the old, very young, disabled and those on lower incomes, according to the draft MTS.
Specific proposals include the introduction of wider, clutter-free pavements and a new London-wide cycle network; traffic-free areas, with Oxford Street being the first area of transformation; speed reductions and safer standards for buses and lorries. The introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be brought forward to 2019 and consideration will be given to developing 'next generation' road charging schemes, with a vision of creating a London-wide transport system which is zero emissions by 2050.
The draft MTS also includes an ambitious aim to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from road traffic collisions, termed 'vision zero'.
A Good Public Transport Experience
Public transport improvements are seen as essential to the Healthy Streets Approach, as having easy to use and accessible public transport provides an alternative to car use. The draft MTS outlines various improvements including better travel information, WiFi in Tube tunnels and affordable fares across all transport. The draft MTS also re-iterates the Mayor's support for Crossrail 2 and that devolution of suburban rail services from the Department for Transport to the Mayor remains an ongoing goal. A major aim is to co-ordinate the public transport experience with walking and cycling for sections of the journey.
The accessibility and inclusiveness of the public transport offering is to be addressed, with more stations being step-free to support the elderly, very young and the 14% of Londoners who are disabled and make, on average, one third fewer trips that non-disabled Londoners.
New Homes and Jobs
An estimated 50,000 new homes are needed each year to accommodate the demand in London and 1.2 million jobs are needed by 2041. London's population is expected to rise from 8.7 million to 10.5 million in the next 25 years and the Mayor hopes to "create a future London that is not only home to more people, but is a better place for all those people to live in". In the draft MTS, the Mayor proposes that full advantage should be taken of TfL land that could be used to deliver more housing, with 10,000 homes to be constructed on TfL land by 2020/21.
The introduction of the Elizabeth Line and the extension of the Bakerloo line aims to reduce crowding and improve capacity. These actions may also trigger housing growth in areas previously limited in its public transport offering.
The draft MTS contains some bold and ambitious proposals, such as the vision of creating a "zero emissions" transport system by 2050. Whilst we endorse the vision of a cleaner, healthier London, it remains to be seen if all of these proposals are deliverable. The draft MTS is open to public consultation until 2 October, so we await with interest the outcome of the consultation and the publication of the final Mayor's Transport Strategy in 2018.