London Transport Plan prioritises walking, cycling and public transport26 June 2017

A draft transport strategy published by the mayor of London proposes that London’s entire transport system would be zero-emission by 2050. It also proposes further restrictions on van and lorry use.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “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 today 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.”

This phased approach builds on the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zones, and takes in 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.

All buses would be zero-emission by 2037.

In the nearer term, from 2018, 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. By 2037 at the latest, all 9,200 buses across London would be zero emission.

The main thrust of the transport strategy is on promoting public transport and walking and cycling – which will include the ‘transformation’ of Oxford Street – but there were a few mentions of the implications HGVs.

For example, in an overview document it says that it aims to reduce road danger to promote cycling, with the goal of no bus-related deaths by 2030, and eliminating road collision deaths by 2041. It adds: “Designing streets that encourage lower speeds and demanding safer standards for buses and lorries will help to make this happen.” That may be a reference to its proposed Direct Vision standards that aim to outlaw HGVs with high seating positions in the 2020s.

On one hand, it appears to admit the importance of road freight for restocking shops and restaurants in the city, implying that traffic-reduction measures should improve conditions for delivery: “A shift away from car use will help London’s streets work more efficiently, reducing congestion so bus services can run reliably, and essential freight and business journeys can keep London operating.”

On the other hand, it argues that freight deliveries need to be more efficient: “Improving the efficiency of freight and commercial traffic, alongside reductions in private car use, will help to keep the streets operating well for the benefit of the city’s businesses and the Londoners who rely on them. Without action now, freight traffic in the central London morning peak is expected to increase by up to 10 per cent in the next ten years.”

In a list of ‘transport principles’ (such as good access to public transport) the proposal includes “efficient freight”. Freight is covered in more detail in its Proposal 15.

It says that freight vehicles account for a third of traffic in central London during the morning peak, so “improving the efficiency of deliveries” is essential to improving congestion, it says. It proposes shifting deliveries to quieter times of day, and maximising deliveries by “sustainable modes”, referring to electric vans or cargo bikes.

It goes on to say that regional distribution centres are needed at the edge of London to better consolidate goods for delivery.

The increase of internet shopping has increased van traffic; TfL also proposes to work with large companies to encourage employees to pick up goods from local collection points rather than direct to their workplace.

It also argues that waste and recycling services could be made more efficient by consolidating waste services among neighbouring businesses, floating the idea of formal commercial waste zone frameworks or Business Improvement District initiatives.

Furthermore, it proposes reducing construction traffic in central London by 5% by 2020.

In response, Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London, said: “It costs so much to deliver into London that the road freight industry is already highly load efficient. 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."

The proposal also suggests developing a single London lorry standard to simplify the regulatory environment for HGVs operating in London.It appears to be more generous to the needs of freight traffic toward the outside of London: “A good national strategic road network is needed to cater for the freight, coach services and essential traffic that help to keep London and the UK economy operating. In the Wider South East and M25 area, in particular, strategic roads must be managed to cater for essential journeys, without increasing car dependency within or outside London.”

The draft Mayor’s Transport Strategy is open to public consultation until 2 October 2017 via

Will Dalrymple

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