Transport for London (TfL) plans to transform London’s road network risk hindering economic growth in the capital if fleets cannot operate effectively, according to a warning from the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
TfL has committed to a range of projects as part of the London mayor’s plan for 80% of journeys in the capital to take place via walking, cycling or public transport by 2040.
However, the RHA believes that initiatives to reduce London’s road network and invest in public transport must take all road users into account.
At a Westminster policy forum, Mike Brown – Commissioner at Transport for London – said: “London has the highest population that it has ever had and it is forecast to grow to 10 million by 2040.
“We need to invest in new and improved services to support this growth in population and innovate to find new ways to deliver them.”
The organisation’s plans, covering tube network investments and other rail projects, include a £2.2billion initiative to reallocate road space to cyclists and pedestrians. Oxford Street is the first road to be pedestrianised.
Duncan Buchanan, policy director at the RHA, said: “Roads exist to link people to people, link people to business and to link businesses to other businesses. The roads have to meet all of our needs whether it’s cars, vans, lorries, cycles, pedestrians.
“To do this we need a road network of sufficient quality and space that allows access for all the people that need to use it.”
Urban sustainability consultant and former deputy mayor of London for environment and energy, Matthew Pencharz, added: “In London … congestion is going up despite the fact that car usage has gone down. We can’t realistically expect this increasing number of people to be in the city without there being more road reallocation, but we still need a lot of vehicles coming in to create the development.
“The city authorities need to look at congestion management very carefully and make more rational decisions about how to move these goods around more quickly.”
Despite the projected population increase of over two million, the mayor’s plans promise a 10-15% reduction of congestion in London by 2041.
Pencharz raised concerns that the profound reduction in vehicle numbers will lead to revenue losses which will leave a troubling black whole in budgets, with road charging the only viable solution.