More ‘sustainable’ travelling but less cycling during pre-Covid year, says Transport for London

More ‘sustainable’ travelling but less cycling during pre-Covid year, says Transport for London

Travel demand as a whole in London rose slightly during 2019 compared with the previous year, including an increase in the proportion of Londoners who did 20 minutes of daily “active travel”, despite the volume of cycling falling compared with the previous year, according to new Transport for London figures.

An overview of TfL’s forthcoming annual Travel In London report to be discussed at TfL’s board meeting on Wednesday (9 December, from page 73) says “an average of 27 million trips per day were made to, from or within London” during 2019, an increase of 0.7% compared with 2018.

Within this increase the “active, efficient and sustainable” share, meaning trips made by public transport, by foot or by bicycle, increased by a modest 0.2% to 63.2%, although the report also says “the 2019 calendar year saw a small year-on-year decline of 2.7% in cycling volumes”. It attributes this fall mainly to trends in Outer London and to “unusually poor weather during the counting periods”.

The overall increase in “active travel”, which 42% of Londoners now achieve, is the second in consecutive years, though the overview adds, “there is still considerable effort required to achieve the aim of all Londoners walking or cycling for at least 20 minutes per day by 2041.”

The overview also records “a continuing decline in the number of people killed or seriously injured on London roads” compared with a baseline of the four-year period between 2005 and 2009. It specifically mentions a fall in the number of cyclists killed on London roads by this measure – down from 17 to five – and in the number of children killed (65%, though no absolute figure is provided).

There were “25,341 reported personal injury collisions in London in 2019”, the overview says, resulting in 125 deaths, 3,780 injuries categorised as “serious” and 26,102 as “slight”. The number of “bus involved” casualties of all kinds fell to 209 in 2019 compared with 238 in 2018.

The overview says these figures represent “a 39% reduction towards the overall target of 65% by 2022,” but also notes that “the rate of progress… has slowed in recent years, as further gains become progressively more challenging.”

General road traffic trends are described as having been “relatively stable” in recent years, with Department for Transport figures showing a net decrease in vehicle kilometres of 0.5% over the period 2010 to 2018.

An estimate of the impact of additional private hire vehicles is that in March 2019 they accounted for 29% of daily vehicle kilometres in Central London, 19% in Inner London and 8% in Outer London.

The overview also describes a “dramatic and widespread improvement to air quality in London,” particularly for nitrogen dioxide (NO2). This is attributed to policies such as the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone in Central London and low emission bus zones.

Photograph: A pavement near East Ham station. exists to provide fair and thorough coverage of the UK capital’s politics, development and culture. It depends greatly on donations from readers. Give £5 a month or £50 a year and you will receive the On London Extra Thursday email, which rounds up London news, views and information from a wide range of sources. Click here to donate directly or contact for bank account details. Thanks.

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