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Background

The City of London Transport Strategy Consultation

The City of London, also known as the Square Mile, is the historic heart of London and one of the world’s leading financial centres. It is home to 8,000 residents and a working population of over 480,000 people. Each year the City also welcomes over 10 million tourists, in addition to those visiting for business.

How people and goods travel to and around the City has a significant impact on the experience of living, working and studying in or visiting the Square Mile. Facilitating the safe, clean and efficient movement of people and vehicles serving the City, alongside improving the quality of streets and public spaces, will be essential to ensuring the continued success of the City as a global centre for business and cultural destination.

As the highway authority for the Square Mile, the City of London Corporation (City Corporation) is responsible for the management of most streets within the City. Transport for London (TfL), the integrated transport authority for Greater London, manages the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN, also known as ‘Red Routes’), of which there are several miles within the Square Mile. TfL also manages and operates London’s public transport, the Congestion Charge and Emission Zones.

Map of the City of London boundary and the Transport for London Road Network

This Transport Strategy provides a 25-year framework for future investment in and management of the City’s streets, as well as measures to reduce the social, economic and environmental impacts of motor traffic and congestion. It also sets out our aspirations for improvements to the TLRN and local, national and international transport connections. It details an ambitious approach to transport and the design and management of streets in response to the challenges arising from significant growth, fast-moving technological development and changing travel habits.

The Square Mile’s workforce is forecast to increase to 570,000 by 2030 and to over 620,000 by 2044. The residential population will also grow, with nearly 3,000 more people living in the Square Mile by 2044. This growth will lead to more people travelling on the City’s streets, and in particular more people walking, and increased demand for high quality public spaces. More residents, workers and visitors will also mean more deliveries and servicing of offices, homes, shops, pubs, cafes and restaurants.

This extra demand must be accommodated within a fixed amount of street space. The Square Mile’s streets must enable the movement of people and vehicles to and through the City while also providing space for parking and loading. Our streets are also public spaces that provide workers, residents and visitors with places to meet, eat and drink, or just appreciate the unique character of the Square Mile. Attractive and safe public spaces, with seating and things to see and do are a vital ingredient of a modern city.

The next 25 years will see major changes in transport technology. Vehicles will increasingly be connected and automated, and new mobility services will emerge. New technology can present great opportunities for travel and transport, but also presents challenges over how these new advancements are managed and controlled. Automated vehicles, for example, may be able to use street space more efficiently and reduce collisions, but the availability of relatively cheap private transport could lead to more people choosing not to use public transport.

As the City grows it will be essential to reduce motor traffic and facilitate the movement of people by the most efficient modes of transport. Reductions in traffic will also help improve air quality and make our streets safer. Fortunately, most people already travel to and around the Square Mile on foot, by cycle or public transport. These travel trends are likely to continue in the future, but only if walking, cycling and using public transport are convenient, attractive and safe ways to travel.

Travel and transport in the Square Mile

The City is one of the best-connected places in the world. TfL rates the whole of the Square Mile as having a Public Transport Accessibility rating of above 6 – the highest possible score. This is made possible by an extensive public transport network with six mainline railway stations, 12 Underground and DLR stations and a high density and frequency of bus services. Large numbers of commuters also use stations near the City, including London Bridge and Waterloo. There are also river bus services which stop at Blackfriars Pier and at Tower Pier just outside the City. Significant improvements have and are being made to public transport provision, particularly with the construction of the Elizabeth line which will operate trains to the City at Farringdon and Liverpool Street/Moorgate from autumn 2019.

City of London rail, Underground, and DLR networks

93% of commuter travel to the Square Mile is by public transport (84%), walking (5%) or cycling (4%). Fewer than 5% of City workers drive to work. Walking is by far the main mode of travel within the City, with over 750,000 walked journeys a day. In recent years investment in cycling infrastructure has resulted in an estimated tripling in the number of people cycling in the Square Mile. People cycling now make up a quarter of vehicles and this figure can rise to over 50% on major streets during rush hour.

Traffic in the City has changed significantly since the late 1990s, both in terms of total volume and overall composition. Traffic counts across the City show that overall motor traffic volumes have reduced by approximately 50%, with the greatest reduction being in the number of cars and taxis. The greatest observed reductions have coincided with key events such as the introduction of the Congestion Charge, the global recession and the introduction of Cycle Superhighways.

The most recent traffic counts in autumn 2017 found a slight increase in car volumes, probably caused by the increasing volumes of private hire vehicles. Freight volumes, after dropping significantly between 1999 and 2004, have levelled off in recent years.

Understanding people’s views of transport and streets in the Square Mile

The development of this Strategy has been informed by extensive engagement with the public and organisations with an interest in transport in the Square Mile. The first phase of engagement, held in February and March 2018, included:

City Streets survey: 1,949 people accessed this survey which included questions on perceptions of the City’s streets, priorities for the use of streets and kerb-side space, and ideas and suggestions for future street and transport improvements.

City Streets exhibition: A supporting exhibition was held at the City Centre on Basinghall Street. The exhibition took visitors through historic and recent changes to the City’s streets and presented future challenges. More than 7,000 people visited the City Centre over the two-month period.

Stakeholder workshops: 77 representatives from City businesses, transport user groups and other organisations with an interest in transport in the Square Mile attended workshops in February and March 2018 to share their views on the transport challenges and opportunities.

The key themes emerging from this first phase of engagement were that:

  • Motor traffic levels on the City’s streets are too high
  • People walking in the Square Mile are not given enough priority or space
  • Conditions for cycling in the Square Mile need to be improved and made safer
  • More greenery and seating should be provided on streets and the quality of the public realm improved
  • Air quality in the Square Mile needs to be urgently improved
  • There is potential to use streets more flexibly to accommodate the various demands on them at different times of the day
  • The City’s streets are not accessible to all
  • The management of freight needs to be improved

A second phase of engagement, in June and July 2018, consulted on the proposed vision, aims and outcomes for this Strategy. Over 500 people and organisations responded to this consultation. The draft vision, aims and outcomes received high levels of support, with each being supported or supported with changes by between 77% and 92% of respondents.

An independently recruited panel of City workers and residents also met three times during the development of the Strategy. This panel, which was facilitated by Populus, provided an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of residents and workers’ transport needs and concerns.

A Strategy Board made up of City business representatives, representatives from the Greater London Authority and TfL, and transport experts, also met three times during the development of the Strategy. This Board provided advice and acted as a sounding board for emerging proposals and will continue to advise on the delivery of the Transport Strategy.

Reports of each phase of engagement, providing more details of feedback received, can be found on our website.