London mayor should do more to encourage walking and cycling, say experts

Transport and environment experts have called on the Mayor of London to do more to tackle air pollution.

According to 'Street Smarts', a report by the Commission on the Future of London's Roads and Streets, on behalf of the Centre for London: "London's roads and streets are not serving the city's needs. Congestion is on the rise. Air pollution has emerged as a very significant health concern, with approximately half of air pollution in London estimated to stem from road transport."

cycling in the cityThe commission has urged Sadiq Khan to be ‘bold' in reducing car use and dealing with London's chronic air pollution, congestion and health challenges.

It said that the city's road network should be used ‘more efficiently' and more should be done to create a transport system centred on public transport, walking and cycling.

The report has set out a number of measures designed to improve London's transport system, including extending existing payment platforms Oyster and Contactless to incorporate new types of services like car clubs, cycle hire, taxis and cabs.

‘London's transport system is admired around the world and more and more Londoners are giving up private cars in favour of public transport, walking, cycling and a range of new mobility services,' said Ben Rogers, director of Centre for London.

‘The Mayor's draft Transport Strategy makes it clear he wants to see this trend continue. But he will need to introduce some brave and farsighted reforms if we are going to tackle London's worsening congestion and air pollution, and create a healthier and more liveable city.

‘With the help of the reforms proposed by the Commission, London could be admired across the world for the way it enables easy, pollution-free and affordable movement around the city, the vitality of its neighbourhoods, and the quality of its public realm.'

Val Shawcross, the deputy mayor for transport, said the Centre for London's publication was "an important report which seeks to grapple with some of the biggest issues facing our city over the coming decades".

She said that, in line with the recommendations outlined in the report, the mayor's draft transport strategy outlines a "bold target of increasing the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041, including record investment in new cycling infrastructure".

"We have some of the most ambitious plans to reduce dangerous emissions of any city in the world, and we will continue to keep London's existing and planned road charging schemes under review, ensuring they deliver the best outcomes for our city over the coming years," Shawcross added.

"Taking bold action to get more people cycling, walking and using public transport will help Londoners get around our city more quickly and efficiently, tackle our toxic air pollution, and help improve the health of all of us."

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