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Six out of 10 Londoners claim congestion is worse than in 2014

Date: 03 February 2016   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

More than 60% of Londoners believe that congestion on the capital's roads has increased in the last two years, according to new research.

In the poll issued by pressure group London First, 63% of the respondents said that traffic jams are worse than they were two years ago, while three quarters believe that London will be even more congested by 2020.

Additionally, 37% of the 1016 Londoners surveyed said they favoured charging for access to roads when they are busy, though 35% of the respondents were against this notion.

Figures from Transport for London's 2015 Travel in London, Report 8 publication show that vehicle traffic volumes decreased in central London by 21.3% between 2000 and 2014, despite congestion increasing.

In central London in 2000, 1.3 billion vehicle kilometers were covered, compared with 1.0 billion vehicle kilometers in 2014. 

"London has a congestion problem that is only going to get worse until we move to a next-generation [road] charging system," said David Lean, infrastructure director at London First.
"A geographically wider 'pay as you go' approach would target traffic bottlenecks where and when they actually happen and give road users far stronger encouragement to avoid the busiest roads at the busiest times of day.  It would also help clean up London's air," he added.

In a letter to City Hall this week, the lobby group is calling for five major transport changes, which it claims could improve congestion in the city:

  • More new Thames crossings east of Tower Bridge, starting with the Silvertown tunnel (scheduled to open in 2023) and progressing to Gallions Reach and Belvedere crossings (which could be open by 2025).
  • A programme for new road capacity where practical.
  • Finishing an existing plan to overhaul cycling provision and road junctions and assessing them before any further works.
  • A coherent plan for freight.  Freight makes up one third of morning peak traffic and is critical to London's economy, the group claims. It says that London needs to look at better ways of using London roads when they are quiet to deliver freight, using new technologies and good working practices to ensure that residents are not inconvenienced.
  • Expanding congestion charging to a larger and more sophisticated congestion charging scheme.