London’s road network – from red to green

This event has already taken place.

Three decades ago the first ‘Red Routes’ were implemented on some of the capital’s busiest roads to improve the flow of traffic. Since then, London has transformed. Expanded bus networks, cycle super-highways and ride-hailing apps have all changed the way Londoners move around the city.

Catch up on the discussion

About the event

Managed by Transport for London, cars are not allowed to stop on Red Routes, making them major thoroughfares for commuting, freight, and goods deliveries – which have increased significantly over the last year as Londoners shopped online. As such, the Red Routes network now boasts levels of NO2 pollution 57 per cent higher than an average road. Many deprived and vulnerable Londoners live, work, and go to school near these busy roads, breathing higher and often illegal levels of air pollution every day.

Transport policy has also evolved with climate change as a central issue. Tackling congestion and the newer challenges of air quality, emissions and raising Londoners’ activity levels have all become part of public discussion around public health, inequality and climate change.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has put incredible pressure on local government and neighbourhoods, it has also encouraged creativity and experimentation in transport policy. Londoners are thinking differently about quality of life and how they move around the city.

At this event Centre for London and our guest speakers discussed Red Routes and their place in policy for London today, and tomorrow.

  • Are Red Routes creating or reinforcing inequities around health, noise, and inconvenience?
  • How can the Mayor continue to encourage active travel when national messaging around COVID-19 safety favours car use and shopping online?
  • What are some possible alternatives to Red Routes that would keep London moving its people and goods, but also improve quality of life along the road network?


  • Rob Whitehead, Director of Strategic Projects, Centre for London (Chair)
  • Araceli Camargo, Neuroscientist and Lab Lead, Centric Lab
  • Oliver Lord, Head of Policy and Campaigns, Environmental Defense Fund Europe
  • Tiffany Lam, Consultant, NEF Consulting
  • Steve Gooding, Director, RAC Foundation

Major Sponsor

This event has been generously supported by