Congestion levels across London will continue to rise if trips previously made by buses or trains were instead made by car,” says a consultation document issued by Transport for London (TfL) on September 28.
“We must give people an alternative way to travel,” added the U.K. capital’s transport body.
“We completely understand that some journeys simply cannot be made on foot or with a bike,” mollified the consultation document.
“Many can, however,” it stressed.
In a linked email to residents, TfL pointed out that “49% of journeys in London are local and cover distances of less than two kilometers. 73% are under five kilometers, and could be cycled in less than 20 minutes. If more people choose to walk or cycle these journeys then the issue of congestion and its associated disbenefits can be tackled.”
The email—signed by Fraser Macdonald of TfL’s Streetspace engagement team—continued:
“By helping people who can do so to walk or cycle more often, we can free up buses and trains for people who need them the most, and we can ensure our roads are as free-flowing as possible for the emergency services, businesses and buses and taxis.”
“The NHS has found that there is a link between personal fitness and recovery from the coronavirus. An increase in trips made by car would also worsen the quality of our air and increase road casualties from collisions.”
More motor traffic on London’s roads is “not the solution to help London recover from the pandemic, but active travel through walking and cycling is,” added TfL.
The body added that it is not expecting “an overnight shift out of cars and onto bikes, but we do expect to see a gradual shift over a period of time.”
It’s likely that getting around by private car in London will become increasingly difficult in the years ahead—by design.
“We need more people to rethink their travelling options and make the change to walking and cycling,” concluded TfL.