Centre for London examined how the costs and benefits of transport fall across different groups of Londoners. Our research explored how transport equity has changed and what we need to do now to create a fairer transport system.
Despite being a wealthy city, levels of poverty and exclusion in London remain stubbornly high. Over recent decades, transport costs have increased faster than median earnings. Alongside rising housing costs and increasing cost of living, this is squeezing the living standards of many Londoners.
Many Londoners have to make sacrifices to live in the city, and trade offs between housing and transport costs often factor into people’s decisions about where to live. For example, those commuting from the city’s edges to Central London may choose to spend more on travel at the expense of their discretionary incomes, while living further from a station may limit other people’s access to better-paid work.
Transport options – or lack of them – can also impact Londoner’s health and wellbeing. We know, for example, that the quality of the roads and public realm provision can encourage people to chose active lifestyles by walking and cycling. Evidence suggests that roadside pollution and road danger tend to affect poorer citizens the most.
At the same time, new technologies and services are transforming the way we move around the city. While this may present challenges, there may also be opportunities for more targeted and flexible interventions which could make our transport system more equitable.
This project developed a conceptual framework of transport and equity and map positive and negative impacts on different groups, to understand how we might reform mobility so that it works for less advantaged Londoners. The research used a broad definition of equity in transport, covering the following factors:
- Externalities (including health and activity, pollution and safety)
By drawing on data analysis, conducting interviews with key stakeholders and focus groups with transport user groups, the project aimed to help the Mayor of London, Transport for London and London boroughs to develop the intelligence and tools to use in the next phase of London’s growth.