This report sets out four low-cost strategies which can help accommodate population growth and ease the pressure on London's transport networks.
London’s population is projected to grow to 10 million by 2030, which means an additional one million people over each of the next two decades using the city’s already-crowded transport network.
The current strategy from City Hall is to accommodate the capital’s growing population through massive infrastructure investment. And this means an eye-watering bill that will need to be picked up by tax-payers, transport users and businesses. In fact there are another four strategies at the Mayor’s disposal which can help accommodate population growth:
- Investing in new technology
- Encouraging behaviour change
- Adapting land use planning
- Adopting flexible pricing mechanisms
Deployed thoughtfully, these strategies will enable much more than infrastructure to keep the capital moving. And it need not mean a bill of billions.
It is estimated that accommodating the extra Londoners over the next two decades through development of infrastructure alone will cost around £50bn. But in the short term there are several lower cost programmes that can be delivered to reduce or postpone the need for expensive infrastructure.
- London must continue to roll out intelligent technologies to make better use of existing infrastructure, to improve public transport operations and to improve user information. London should prepare for a first trial of driverless vehicles.
- London needs to implement a targeted programme of behaviour change measures to reduce peak time demand through home working and flexible working hours, and to shift short car journeys to walking and cycling.
- London needs to adapt its parking standards to new patterns of vehicle ownership and usage, and pro-actively promote more car-free and car-lite developments around London’s town centres.
- London will need to use tolls to fund new infrastructure, but it can go further in using pricing mechanisms to encourage more efficient use of the transport network (e.g. variable pricing to discourage rail passengers from taking the Underground for the ‘last mile’ from rail termini).