London buses zero emission by 2037

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With a target of a zero emission city by 2050, the London Mayor expects TfL to lead by example, ensuring London’s entire bus fleet consists of zero emission vehicles, such as this electric BYD double-decker, by 2037. MIKE SHEATHER

Draft London transport strategy unveiled by Mayor, with a heavy focus on improving the bus network and deterring car use

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has used his first draft Transport Strategy to set out plans to reduce the capital’s dependency on the car.

The Mayor has targeted an increase in the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80% of journeys by 2041, compared to 64% now, which would mean an average of three million fewer car journeys in London each day.

The Mayor has already announced plans to introduce the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2019. The zone would be expanded London-wide for heavy vehicles by 2020 and to Inner London for all other vehicles by 2021.

TfL will be tasked with making London’s entire road transport system zero emission by 2050 at the latest. This will be delivered through a phased approach, which includes delivering central London and town centre zero emission zones from 2025, creating a zero emission zone in inner London by 2040 and a London-wide zone by 2050. TfL ‘will lead by example,’ with the aim that all taxis and PHVs will be zero emission capable by 2033 and buses will be zero emission by 2037. The measures will also require the Government to incentivise the uptake of zero emission vehicles and provide funding to ensure sufficient and appropriate charging and refuelling infrastructure in London and across the UK.

The Mayor highlighted that buses can move 70 people in the same amount of road space taken up by about three cars. From next year, all new double-deck buses will be hybrid, electric or hydrogen. In central London, all double-deck buses will be hybrid by 2019 and all single-deck buses will emit zero exhaust emissions by 2020.

Ambitious safety plans were also outlined, with the aim for no one to be killed in or by a London bus by 2030, and for all deaths and serious injuries from road collisions to be eliminated from London’s streets by 2041. The city would also take advantage of the latest innovations to improve passenger experiences, including improving staff service by ensuring they have the latest real-time information to hand, improving training, providing a more consistent level of service across all transport modes and delivering 4G mobile communications to the London Underground.

From 2018, TfL will no longer get a revenue grant from Government and rely more heavily on fares and income from advertising and commercial development. The Mayor said that to ensure future transport schemes, such as Crossrail 2, the Government needs to allow greater use of Business Rate Retention, as well as approving additional powers, including Vehicle Excise Duty in London, to create a fairer way of funding transport schemes. The Mayor will look to restrict car parking provision within new developments, with those most accessible to public transport expected to be car free. Secure cycle parking and storage will be expected to be built into all new developments, and where car parking is considered appropriate in new development, provision should be made for electric vehicle charging points.

The Mayor said he will continue to lobby the Government to give him powers to limit the overall number of private hire vehicles licensed for use in London, so as to manage their contribution to overall congestion, particularly in central London.

Existing and planned road user charging schemes, including the Congestion Charge, are under review, ensuring they tackle the congestion challenges London faces. TfL will explore the next generation of road user charging that could harness new technology to better reflect distance, time, emissions, road danger and other factors in an integrated way. This could include a single ‘per mile’ charge which takes into account both congestion and emissions objectives.

The Mayor, through TfL, will work with boroughs who wish to develop local traffic demand management measures, for example exploring local road charging or workplace parking schemes, as part of traffic reduction strategies. He also said he aims to transform the quality of bus services so that they offer a faster, more reliable, and convenient alternative to car use by reviewing and extending the operating times of bus lanes, and making greater provision for bus priority lanes.

Sadiq Khan said: “It has been an incredibly difficult few weeks for London, but we must carry on as a city and that means pushing forward our work to keep Londoners moving around our city. London is the greatest city in the world and as it continues to grow it is vital that we take a bold approach to ensure our transport network works for all. We simply cannot afford to take the same old approach to travel as our growing population puts increasing pressure on our network.

“That’s why I’m setting out a new long-term vision for our capital – one that puts walking, cycling and zero-emission public transport right at the heart of our day-to-day lives. So while we are delivering affordable, reliable and accessible transport through the improved services and new infrastructure that we need, we’re also changing the whole way we look at transport as a whole.

“Only by focusing on active travel, providing efficient zero-emission transport and reducing our dependency on cars, can we improve the health of Londoners, support economic growth, deliver homes and jobs, and make our city an even better place to live.”

London’s Transport Commissioner, Mike Brown MVO, said: “This ambitious strategy for the next 25 years sets out how we will invest in modernising and improving our services so that people have excellent transport connections no matter where they are in the city. A key focus of the strategy is the Mayor’s Healthy Streets Approach, creating a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city, where Londoners are encouraged to do at least 20 minutes of active travel each day that they need to stay healthy.

“We will also make sure that our network impacts our environment much less, with plans in place to reduce and then eliminate emissions from the transport fleet. Through this, and with help from the Government, we can support growth, jobs, homes and make London an even better place.”

Janet Cooke, Chief Executive of London TravelWatch, said: “We welcome the proposal for greater priority for the bus on London’s streets and for measures to reduce congestion, particularly a commitment to investigate roads charging to reduce traffic volumes. Improving local pedestrian and cycling environments will also enable more Londoners to include active travel into their daily lives either for their whole journey or as part of a public transport journey.”

Ben Still, of the Urban Transport Group, said: “Making streets into safer and more attractive places that people want to spend time in and which promote healthier and more active lifestyles is the right way forward for cities.

“Successful cities know that they need to be places that people actively want to live in, work in, invest in and visit. London’s Healthy Streets Approach is something which we are now looking to take forward as a wider group of transport authorities for the nation’s largest urban areas.”