Road User Information
Further reading, Case Studies and more useful info
Fact 1: Transport for London’s modelling shows little difference – and is the worst-case scenario
Transport for London modelled the effect of the scheme on journey times here. For sustainable journeys (walking, cycling or bus), most are predicted to be two or three minutes worse (or better) than they are at present. The worst delay could be for other traffic, taking 9-10 minutes longer for the whole route from Wood Lane to Notting Hill, but only in the morning rush hour westbound. But note that this is the ‘worst-case scenario’ – if there is no shift to walking, cycling or public transport – which is highly unlikely. And note that sustainable transport gets prioritised over other modes.
Fact 2: A London-wide study of congestion shows that bike lanes are not the cause
This study for Transport for London shows that roadworks, breakdowns and accidents all play a part in congestion, but the main cause – you guessed it – is too many vehicles on the road (“the scale of traffic demand on the network”). It finds that pedestrian, cycle or bus lane schemes can cause delays during construction, but when complete any delays are “negligible” (page 25).
Fact 3: Cities with a good network of cycleways have less congestion
Bikes make much more efficient use of road space to transport people than vehicles. So it’s not surprising that cities with a good network of cycleways have less congestion. To test this, we’ve picked some random cities and compared the overall length of cycleways in a city with the amount of congestion.
As you can see, the trend tends to be that the more cycleways a city has, the less congestion. London’s position is slightly skewed upwards by its large amount of disjointed cycleways (eg only within a park) which are not particularly useful. The dot would be lower if we were only counting good quality routes consistent with those in other cities.
The graph below shows the data from a pollution sensor on Upper Thames Street, where the main East-West cycleway opened in 2016. As you can see, the pollution has slightly reduced since it opened, to below the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide (40ug/m3). It’s also worth noting that the pollution sensor is located next to the traffic lane. For pedestrians, pollution levels will have dropped further, as they are now further separated from motor vehicles: research has shown that walking away from the kerb can reduce your exposure to pollution by a third.
Fact: Evidence shows that cycle lanes can reduce pollution
The graph below shows the data from a pollution sensor on upper Thames Street, where the main east-west cycleway opened in 2016. As you can see, the pollution has slightly reduced since it opened to within the legal limit (40 micrograms per cubic metre). It’s also worth noting that the pollution sensor is located next to the traffic lane. For pedestrians, pollution levels will have dropped further, as they are now separated from motor vehicles by the cycle lane; research has shown that walking away from the kerb can reduce your exposure by a third.
Making cycling safe should be the main plank in any air quality strategy, to enable more people to use a zero-emission form of travel (even electric vehicles pollute, via particulates from tyres and brake pads). The more people who feel able to cycle instead of drive, the fewer polluting vehicles will be on the borough’s roads – and this is one of the most polluted areas of the UK.
Fact: The scheme will give pedestrians more protection from the real danger – motor traffic
Much has been made of the danger of pedestrians having to cross a cycle lane. The reality is that injuries caused by cyclists to pedestrians are vanishingly rare – perhaps because anyone on a bike hitting a pedestrian will come off just as badly as the pedestrian. And compared to the deaths and injuries inflicted on pedestrians by motor traffic each year, they are practically non-existent. Notting Hill Gate and Holland Park Avenue are dangerous places for pedestrians – you can see the statistics in detail here. The TfL scheme will provide 15 new and upgraded pedestrian crossings and make crossing side roads safer as well.
Here is one of many studies that finds walking and cycling improvements have a positive impact on business, and that people who walk or cycle to a commercial area spend more per month than those who arrive by car. Adding bike lanes and bike parking can actually increase economic activity. A passing cyclist is much more likely to make an impromptu stop at a shop than a passing motorist.
However, most car parking spaces will be maintained on Holland Park Avenue, and after objections were raised by businesses, a proposed pedestrian crossing which would have replaced a loading bay has been scrapped – increasing the overall number of parking spaces.