Mayor of London vows to tackle London’s road congestion

21 November 2016

Mayor of London vows to tackle London’s road congestion 

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, is today announcing a series of measures aimed at directly tackling growing congestion on London’s roads and improving reliability for all road users. 

 

Transport for London (TfL) will take immediate steps using new and improved strategic management, technology and communication to tackle the problem of congestion in London head-on. The measures being announced include better communication directly with road users to allow them to plan their journeys, and better collaboration to reduce disruption from roadworks.

 

As part of the plans, the Mayor is also setting out specific measures to increase the reliability of bus services, including investing £50m in bus priority schemes. The bus is London’s most popular form of public transport and the most efficient motorised use of road space, with almost 2.4bn journeys made by bus in the capital each year – half of all bus journeys in England. Getting more people using buses will help tackle road congestion, and reversing the congestion that has caused bus passenger numbers to fall over the last few years is a key priority for the Mayor.

 

As well as outlining measures to improve the reliability of bus services, the plans announced today include reducing disruption caused by planned or unplanned incidents, and improving journey time reliability so that all road journeys have minimum delay in any traffic conditions. The Government will also be lobbied for greater powers to manage road works including increasing the scope of fixed penalty notices and legislating around the use of cranes and hoardings that impact on the road network.

 

Specific measures announced today to tackle congestion include:

 

·         Ensuring that the infrastructure that supports the road network, including traffic signals and road surfaces, are reliable, faults are minimised and repairs are carried out faster.

·         Communicating better with road users to allow people to make more effective decisions about their journeys based on the most accurate and up-to-date information.

·         Collaborating more efficiently with local authorities, utility companies and developers to reduce the impact of planned road works.

The plans are targeted at easing the immediate congestion problems facing London. This is alongside other more long-term strategic approaches being developed as part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, due to be published in Spring 2017.

 

The Mayor has already pledged to freeze all TfL fares for the next four years, making public transport a more affordable and attractive option for Londoners. The Mayor has also introduced the ‘Hopper’ bus fare which allows passengers to change buses within an hour, without paying an additional fare. 10 million bus journeys have already benefited from the ‘Hopper’ fare.   

 

Cutting the cost of public transport will help achieve more efficient use of London’s limited road space, as well as tackling poor air quality and promoting better health for Londoners. This is all part of the Healthy Streets approach, with better cycling facilities and a continuing commitment to new cycling infrastructure helping Londoners get about quickly without having to use a car.

 

Through campaigning for London’s suburban rail services to be devolved to TfL, the Mayor also hopes to improve the quality and reliability of London’s rail services - providing further incentives for Londoners to take the train rather than travel by car. 

 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said:

 

“Ensuring people can get around our city easily and efficiently is vital for London’s future prosperity. We need to be much smarter in how we use our roads and tackle the causes of congestion head-on. Today I’m setting out practical and immediate steps we can take to reduce disruption, including better prioritising buses on our streets, better information for road users, and substantial improvements in how roadworks are coordinated.

 

“It’s now crucial that these changes are implemented alongside our longer-term plans to make cycling and walking more appealing. Ultimately, while today’s plan sets out some important practical steps, we can only tackle congestion in the long term by making public transport more affordable, and making cycling and walking more appealing choices for all Londoners.”

 

Simon Moore, CBI Director for London & South, said:

 

“To ensure London remains an attractive place to work and do business, it is vital that we have good quality and reliable infrastructure networks. With congestion across our road network highlighted as a top transport priority for firms, businesses will welcome the Mayor’s package of measures to ease blockers across our roads. 

 

“Greater collaboration between local boroughs, utility providers and developers and using technology more effectively to reduce traffic impacts are key short term solutions to improving our network. In the longer term, bolder solutions will be required to increase our deteriorating road capacity.”

 

 

Natalie Chapman, Head of Policy for London, Freight Transport Association, said:

 

“FTA strongly welcomes the Mayor’s focus on managing congestion, and hopes that this approach will produce benefits for Londoners.  The capital needs more than 360,000 tonnes of goods moved on its roads every day - construction materials to build new homes, food and drink to restaurants, clothes to shops and of course the waste to be taken away - so, it's in everyone’s interests if these goods can get where they need to be efficiently.”

 

Notes to editors

Under measures announced today, TfL will work to:

 

·         Reduce the time taken to clear up unplanned incidents, by:

-          Using new data sources including social media and crowd-sourced traffic apps to identify incidents sooner and proactively deploy officers to ensure roads are reopened quickly after a collision or other incident.

-          Trialling the use of new recordable CCTV to assess the benefits of CCTV footage in reducing collision investigation times at a small number of key locations. Investigators will be able to immediately review footage of the incident to help focus the scope of the investigation.  

-          Renew the joint MPS and TfL Roads Reopening Protocol which sets out their shared commitment to working together to minimise disruption and reduce the duration of police related road closures which impact on road users.

-          Creating a new congestion-focused Task Force within the TfL-funded MPS Roads and Transport Policing command.

-          Reviewing the types of road works classified as emergency to ensure they are only undertaken where absolutely unavoidable. 

 

·         Manage the rising demand for travel on London’s roads, by:

-          Doubling the bus priority programme to 150 schemes and linking on-bus GPS with traffic signals to prioritise buses that are behind schedule.

-          Conducting 200 traffic signal timings reviews prioritised at key locations where specific delays have been identified.

-          Expanding the use of Active Travel Management tools to alleviate and manage congestion away from vital parts of the road network.

-          Rolling out camera detection technology at pedestrian crossings to identify when people are no longer waiting to cross, for example late at night, to reduce the time traffic is held at red lights.

-          These measures are on top of the Mayor’s longer-term plans for improving public transport services and walking and cycling facilities to encourage people to not use private vehicles unnecessarily. This includes freezing all TfL fares over the next four years, reducing the cost of public transport.  

 

·         Communicate better with road users to allow people to make more effective decisions about their journeys based on the most accurate and up-to-date information, by:

-          Increasing the number of followers of TfL’s Traffic News Twitter account. This is the most widely used traffic news account in Europe with 930,000 followers currently and TfL will continue to engage with drivers and provide accurate and relevant real-time traffic information.

-          Providing better information on when roads are due to be re-opened after incidents and more advice on alternative routes when roads are closed.

-          Developing more partnerships with technology companies like Waze, app developers and sat nav providers to ensure information on planned road closures, incidents and events is available in advance, getting the information into the hands of drivers when and where they need it.

-          Assessing the pilot of real time traffic messaging on the backs of buses for a potential wider roll-out to provide drivers with better information whilst on their journey.

-          Working with utility companies to improve the communications they provide road users, local communities and other stakeholders in advance of and during their works. 

 

·         Ensure that the infrastructure that supports the road network, including traffic signals and road surfaces, are reliable, faults are minimised and repairs are carried out faster, by:

-     Driving forward innovative new products with road works contractors, such as more resilient manhole covers and faster setting materials for road resurfacing, to reduce or eliminate delays from repairs.

-     Working with UK Power Networks (UKPN) to reduce the time taken for engineers to attend sides to investigate or reinstate power connections that impact on traffic signals.

-     Developing a system of “4G Backup” for traffic signals to ensure they can remain under the control of central operations centres in the event of localised connection failures.

-     Reviewing the drainage system along London’s key road network and targeting a programme of more frequent cleaning and maintenance at areas that are more prone to flooding.

-     Rolling out portable temporary traffic signals at roadworks that are connected to central control so they respond to traffic levels and not set on static timings.

 

·         Collaborate more efficiently with local authorities, utility companies and developers to reduce the impact of planned road works, by:

-     Working with the London Infrastructure Delivery Board to improve long term planning of major infrastructure and better coordinate works.

-     Using cameras at road works sites to enhance enforcement and where appropriate prosecute companies whose works are not conducted safely and in line with their permits and agreements.

-     Agreeing performance improvement action plans with local authorities, utility companies and developers carrying out road works.

-     Establishing and publishing block closures in advance to coordinate maintenance and other road works to ensure the same sections of roads are not repeatedly subject to closures.

-     Lobbying Government for greater powers to manage road works including increasing the scope of fixed penalty notices and legislating around the use of cranes and hoardings that impact on the road network.