London Mayor Wants Even Less Traffic

Thu 13th Jan 2022

Despite facing intense criticism for the continued roll-out of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, London Mayor Sadiq Khan is keen to see even less traffic on the capital’s road.

New data published this week has revealed that while cycling has increased by 22 per cent over the past two years, the use of public transport has suffered a big hit due to the pandemic and has yet to return to 2019 levels. Buses are at 70 per cent of their normal levels and the London Underground is at 55 per cent.

And while the recent extension of the ULEZ in the capital was intended to take some of the dirtier cars off the roads, Khan is still looking to clean-up the road networks even further. 

“Whilst we have made huge strides in increasing walking and cycling in London throughout the pandemic, car use has remained consistently high," said Mr Khan.

"If we do not double down on our efforts to deliver a greener, more sustainable future, we will replace one public health crisis with another - caused by filthy air and gridlocked roads."

He added: "The cost to both Londoners and the capital [should not] be underestimated, with days wasted stuck in traffic, billions lost to the economy and increased road danger and health impacts.

"Most traffic is caused simply by there being too great a demand for limited street space, meaning the only long-term solution can be to significantly reduce car use in favour of greener means of travel."

Londoners pay two separate charges to drive in the central areas of London, a congestion charge and the more recent ULEZ, but campaigners are arguing that the system needs updating to reflect the driving habits of the Londoners and cause less confusion.

“The Mayor needs to be bold and introduce a simpler, smarter and fairer system of road user charging that replaces both the congestion charge and the ultra-low emission zone,” said Nick Bowes, chief executive of the Centre for London think tank

“Such a scheme would tackle congestion, improve air quality and promote travel by public transport, walking and cycling, by charging drivers by the mile. It could also play a key role in filling the hole in Transport for London’s budget.”