Mayor unveils expanded traffic-busting plans to keep London moving

01 December 2015
  • New technology trials will see real-time digital road signs on major roads and remotely controlled roadworks traffic lights to cut delays

  • Mayor highlights the new measures as major schemes including North-South Cycle Superhighway and Upgrade of Cycle Superhighway 2 pass the half way point

  • TfL delivering a ‘London 2012 Games-style’ approach to keep road users updated with travel advice online and through social media in the coming months

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, today unveiled new measures Transport for London (TfL) is introducing to ease traffic in the capital and minimise disruption on the roads as major work to improve the network continues.

The Mayor tasked TfL with developing new ways to ease disruption while they transform the capital’s roads through the £4bn Road Modernisation Plan. Today he visited TfL’s Traffic Control Centre to see for himself the work that is keeping the capital’s roads moving. The innovations include:

Trials of new technology - for the first time on the TfL Road Network a new generation of digital road signs will provide people with real-time information on journeys using major routes into London. The signs will initially be trialled on the A12, A13 and A40. TfL is also trialling a new operating system of temporary traffic lights that can be remotely controlled from TfL’s traffic control centre. This will mean the phasing of traffic lights can be changed quickly and efficiently by staff at the control centre to improve traffic flow and cut delays through roadwork areas.

A London 2012 Games-style 24/7 communication campaign – each day TfL keeps its 450,000 @tfltrafficnews followers and website users up-to-date with the very latest traffic information and the calendar of works being carried out so people can plan ahead. Now four years old, the account is one of the most followers traffic news accounts in the world, with more followers than all Highways England travel feeds combined. The website has also recently been updated with a rainbow-board to alert people to delays on key arterial roads, as well as have detailed maps with anticipated disruption for the coming months, particularly during peak hours.  The predicted traffic impact of works is also clearly highlighted to residents and businesses through maps and leaflets, while companies can search on a postcode-by-postcode basis to ensure that any potential delays are factored into their planning of deliveries.

Expanding the use of road junction technology, including the world-leading ‘Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique’ (SCOOT) to optimise traffic light timings in outer London. The introduction of SCOOT has proven to reduce delays by up to 12 per cent at each junction where it has been installed. By May 2016, almost 4,000 sites will be using this technology across London – double the number since the Mayor came to power in May 2008. By 2018, more than three-quarters of London’s 6000 junctions will be upgraded with SCOOT, helping to manage and reduce congestion.

Working with sat-nav companies – the Mayor and TfL are encouraging firms to take advantage of the latest technology by using TfL’s extensive data feeds to update sat-navs so motorists can be provided with real-time TfL information as they drive, ensuring they can take the most appropriate routes.

These pioneering measures are being developed to accompany existing ongoing work to ease congestion, including:

Dynamically managing London’s road network using the 24/7 traffic control centre – the team manages traffic 24 hour a day, utilising state of the art technology to ensure junctions and routes are managed effectively in real-time.

Managing incidents and congestion hot spots through the Roads Policing Units – targeted police enforcement is carried out at the busiest locations and known hotspots to boost safety for all road users and reduce delays.

Working with the freight industry to retime deliveries to avoid the busiest times – an online road impact tool allows freight operators to see works up to 12 months ahead to understand the impact for each set of works. With 90 per cent of goods moved around London by road, TfL also continues to provide tailored advice to boroughs, operators, businesses and others to help them re-time deliveries to occur outside the peak times of 07:00-13:00 or routing them away from the busiest locations.

A ‘Lane Rental scheme’ which targets roadworks at the busiest locations and busiest times. It is already seeing over 90 per cent of work carried out during quieter periods – massively reducing disruption. All surplus money raised through the Lane Rental scheme is reinvested into measures to further reduce the disruption. These include the trials of the temporary traffic signals announced today, new Automatic Roadwork Monitoring cameras to allow TfL to better determine whether work is taking place and better use of rapid cure reinstatement materials to help reopen roads quicker, significantly reducing traffic disruption.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “Each day 80 per cent of trips in the capital take place on the roads and TfL is pulling out all the stops to help make those journeys as efficient as they can be. A growing population and a strong economy mean that keeping pace with the rising expectations of all road users in a great city like ours is always going to be a challenge. However, with the biggest investment in a generation and making savvy use of new technology we’re working to deliver a more intelligent network that works better for everyone. Tackling congestion is a key part of the plan to improve the efficiency, safety and reliability of the roads. This will in turn help us to deliver world class urban realm, better cycling and pedestrian facilities and ensuring that our road network is fit for purpose in the 21st century.”

With improvement works planned until 2021/22, TfL’s unprecedented Road Modernisation Plan includes hundreds of projects to improve the streets as the capital grows in size. Across London, improvements are being delivered day and night as new cycle routes are created, traffic signals, pavements and highways are upgraded; new public spaces are made; and junctions are re-designed to make them safer.

The current phase of improvements has hit the half way point, and with the summer period now over Londoners are being thanked for their continued patience with more work due to start. Benefits of the work are already being delivered with the radical redesign of the northern Elephant & Castle roundabout to a new peninsula with two-way traffic; and segregated cycle superhighways , with improved junctions, to separate cyclists from traffic on Vauxhall Bridge and Whitechapel.  Further projects include major refurbishment work to the Hammersmith Flyover, Fore Street Tunnel and Chiswick Bridge.

In the coming weeks, major improvement work will begin to redesign Stockwell Gyratory with segregated cycle lanes and more public space; and deliver pedestrian improvements and public space at Bow Roundabout. By summer 2016 work on both substantially segregated East-West and North-South Cycle Superhighways will be completed, as well as the major redesign of junctions such as Stockwell, Oval and Apex Junction in Shoreditch to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

TfL is also looking at long-term measures to tackle road congestion in the coming decades. In January, it will host an extensive exhibition outlining the latest plans for strategic measures to tackle congestion and cleaning London’s air. This will include plans for new tunnels and fly-unders that open new areas up for redevelopment, as well as measures to help keep freight deliveries serving the capital while also reducing congestion at peak-times.

Garrett Emmerson, Chief Operating Officer of Surface Transport at TfL, said: “When we began work to deliver these improvements earlier this year, we promised to do everything possible to keep London working and moving. Work is already completed on Chiswick Bridge, the Hammersmith Flyover and the first sections of the North-South Cycle Superhighway will be opening in the next few weeks. But there is a lot more to do yet, and we’re asking all road users to bear with us whilst we complete these important projects.

“Just as we did during the London 2012 Games, we’re working around the clock to innovate, plan and coordinate all our work to best manage the road network. By providing accurate, timely and detailed information to all, we’ll continue to ensure Londoners, businesses and road users can plan ahead to avoid the hotspots and minimise disruption.”

To help Londoners plan for the delivery of the Road Modernisation Plan, TfL has undertaken a massive programme of communication and stakeholder engagement, designed to provide everyone affected with the detailed information they need – including maps, leaflets and online resources – to plan their journeys and avoid delays. Businesses can also search on a postcode-by-postcode basis to ensure that any potential delays are factored into delivery route planning.

For detailed information on the impact on central London and to see the range of travel advice and planning tools available, follow @tfltrafficnews or visit