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Roads to Nowhere

Mayor's congestion policies fail to convince

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22 June 2011: London is already the most congested city in the UK and the third most congested city in Europe. Just last year Transport for London (TfL) forecast that traffic congestion in the capital would grow by a further 14% over the next two decades. Now it’s claiming that it won’t grow by anything like as much, if at all, despite a predicted increase of more than a million in London’s population over that time.

This disappearing trick is made possible, according to TfL, mainly by the Mayor’s policies to reduce bottlenecks caused by road works and to increase the capacity of the road network by smoothing traffic flow and changing the operation of traffic lights and, later, by building new road crossings of the river in east London.

Campaign for Better Transport doesn’t buy this and neither, it turns out, does the Greater London Assembly’s Transport Committee.

In its report on congestion published today the Transport Committee concludes among other things that the Mayor needs to be clearer about assessing new road proposals against their environmental and health impacts, that he needs to protect instead of cutting funding for smarter travel and do more to promote car clubs.

The Committee also says that the Mayor should re-adopt the hierarchy of road users prioritising walking, cycling and public transport above car use which he proposed to abandon. And it concludes that he needs to set out the conditions in which he would make use of road user charging. The Conservative members of the Committee declined to support these two conclusions.

This is a guest blog from Richard Bourn, London Campaigner for Campaign for Better Transport