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London launches action plan for cycling

Action plan will ensure that all new routes in the capital meet strict new quality standards, based on the latest evidence, with a focus on traffic volumes and speeds

One of Transport for London's cycling superhighways
One of Transport for London's cycling superhighways

The mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have announced a strategy to create a unified, London-wide cycle network across London in a bid to get more Londoners cycling.


The Cycling Action Plan sets out how TfL and the London boroughs will use cycling to help address poor air quality and congestion, while improving infrastructure with new quality standards to make cycling easier, safer and more accessible for everyone.


Meeting 2041 target


The mayor Sadiq Khan’s aim is to increase the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041, from nearly two thirds now (63 per cent).


“Getting more Londoners cycling is essential for our city’s future health and prosperity, and our new action plan launched today shows how we’re going to go further than ever before to make this a reality,” said Khan.


“The evidence is clear – where we’ve built new high-quality cycling infrastructure, the routes have been hugely successful in getting more people on their bikes. Despite this, too many Londoners still don’t have the high-quality cycle routes they need in their local neighbourhood.”


The plan will see cycling journeys double over the next six years, through measures such as:

  • Work on routes between Tottenham Hale and Camden, and Hackney and the Isle of Dogs, is due to begin next year following consultations, as well as construction of several other major cycle routes across the capital including Cycle Superhighways 4 (Tower Bridge to Greenwich) and 9 (Olympia to Brentford);
  • ensuring that all new routes in the capital meet strict new quality standards, based on the latest evidence, with a focus on traffic volumes and speeds;
  • launching the world’s first cycling infrastructure database (CID), a comprehensive digital record of all cycling facilities on the streets of the capital, which will lead to a step-change in the accuracy and quality of cycling data in London. The CID will be made available to everyone, free-of-charge, through an open-data platform. The data will have a range of applications including personalised journey planning and information about on-street cycle parking;
  • significantly increasing the number of schools engaged with TfL’s free cycle training and active travel programme Stars, as well as doubling the number of adults who receive free cycle training each year.

Single cycle brand


In 2019, TfL will begin using a single brand for all cycle routes, merging the two existing Cycle Superhighway and Quietway brands into a single system where a pan-London network is delivered in line with new quality criteria, supported by simple, easy-to-use signs.


This comes after clear feedback from Londoners on the current brands, which can be misleading – especially for those new to cycling – and is in line with best practice from the world’s top cities for cycling. The identity for the new network will be revealed in early 2019.


The new standards will include six quality criteria to shape the design of cycling infrastructure and to make it clear to boroughs what will and won’t be funded. These will include volumes and speed of motor traffic, numbers of HGVs and collision risk at junctions.

The route will link together communities and businesses in north London, tackling huge barriers to cycling along several of the area’s most intimidating roads

Detailed criteria will be included as an update to the London Cycle Design Standards in 2019, and will be regularly reviewed as part of the continuing development of cycling infrastructure design. The aim is that, where traffic levels are high, cycle routes will either need to reduce traffic below the new acceptable threshold or provide segregation.


Construction work on several major new cycle routes is set to begin in 2019. Following a public consultation next spring, TfL will work with boroughs and local partners to build a route between Camden and Tottenham Hale. The route will link together communities and businesses in north London, tackling huge barriers to cycling along several of the area’s most intimidating roads.


The bigger safety picture


TfL said new cycle routes are just a part of its plans to make cycling in London safer and more appealing – and reducing road danger at junctions is critical to this. Improvement schemes will have transformed more than 40 junctions across London by spring 2020. Work is also underway to remove the outdated roundabouts at Highbury Corner and Old Street to create transformed environments, which are safer for cycling and walking.


“The mayor promised the London Cycling Campaign and our supporters he would triple high quality, protected space for cycling on London’s main roads by the end of this mayoralty. We welcome this Cycling Action Plan which sets out how this will be achieved and how the Mayor will make London a byword for cycling,” added Dr Ashok Sinha, CEO, London Cycling Campaign.


“The introduction of quality conditions for funding cycling infrastructure is particularly important in this plan. LCC has long campaigned for this, to help ensure that only those cycling projects that exhibit international standards of safety and comfort are funded.”


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