Month: June 2017

London Mayor adopts Vision Zero

The new draft Transport Strategy was released on 21st June. We welcome the central role awarded to the Vision Zero approach.

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Here is the relevant text:

Vision Zero to tackle road danger

Minimising road danger is fundamental to the creation of streets where everyone feels safe walking, cycling and using public transport. Road danger disproportionately affects people travelling on foot, by cycle or by motorcycle, with 80 per cent of all those killed or seriously injured on London’s roads travelling by these modes. Safety concerns are the main reasons people give for not cycling more, and for being unwilling to let their children walk unaccompanied.
Adopting Vision Zero – working towards the elimination of road traffic deaths and serious injuries by reducing the dominance of motor vehicles on London’s streets – will be central to the overall success of  the Healthy Streets Approach.

Vision Zero means that road danger will be targeted at its source by ensuring the street environment incorporates safe speeds, safe people, safe street design and safe vehicles. It means reducing the dominance of motor vehicles on streets, and then making the remaining essential motorised journeys as safe as possible.

With Vision Zero, road danger reduction will be considered integral to all the schemes delivered on London’s streets. The proposed pace of progress is set out by the short-, medium- and long-term targets below:
• 2022 – reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured by 65 per cent against 2005-09 levels
• 2030 – reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured by 70 per cent against 2010-14 levels
• 2041 – eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from road collisions from
London’s streets

In addition, interim targets have been set regarding buses:

• 2022 – reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured in, or by, London buses by 70 per cent against 2005-09 levels
• 2030 – reduce the number of people killed in, or by, London buses to zero.

To achieve this, efforts to reduce the danger posed by motor vehicle journeys will be focused in four areas:
Safe speeds – lowering speeds is fundamental to reducing road danger because a person is five times less likely to be fatally injured if hit at 20mph than at 30mph

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Safe street design – ensuring all transport infrastructure projects in London contribute to reducing road danger; attention will focus particularly on areas of highest risk such as busy junctions and roundabouts
Safe vehicles – making sure those vehicles that need to use London’s streets are as safe as possible
Safe people – improving the behaviour of all road users, especially drivers of motorised vehicles, will help make the city a safer place and encourage more people to walk and cycle.

While seeking to reduce the number of deaths and injuries is the first priority, in tragic cases, those responsible must face serious consequences. There is little transparency around the sentencing of people involved in collisions currently.
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) has committed to addressing this with the publication of a joint Metropolitan Police Service (MPS)/TfL annual report of road traffic enforcement in London. MOPAC will also work with the Crown Prosecution Service and the Courts Service to collate and publish information about fatal and serious injuries.

The consultation is open until 02.10.17

Vision Zero is a process, not a target

At a presentation at the Danish Embassy, Will Norman reiterated that Vision Zero will be a guiding principle of the new Mayor’s Transport Strategy.

However he mentioned a term which seems to become a meme among TfL staff: Zero as an “aspiration”. In other words, Zero KSI is a target which is not achievable but TfL will aspire to get close to it. This is similar to the standard TfL line after a fatality on the road: “Every death is a death too many”.

I see it differently: Vision Zero is not focused on targets but on processes: the vision is Mobility for everyone, without fear (real or perceived) of being severely injured or killed.

Vision Zero is the journey not the destination. It is a journey of constant learning and improvement; of experimentation and transparency; moving away from easy blaming and fatalism, towards humane understanding of causes and consequences of failures.

The benefits of Vision Zero go far beyond the headline figures of reductions in fatalities: everyone will benefit from streets which are designed for active travel of citizens of all ages.

The Healthy Street strategy document is certainly congruent with Vision Zero.

We still have to see how it will be implemented. The key hurdle of course is that most of the interventions outlined need to be implemented by local Councils. Transport for London is fond of saying that they control only 5% of London roads. It is vital therefore that they provide leadership by example, as the previous administration (after years of reluctant fudge) finally demonstrated with bold interventions on the Embankment and some bridges.

The present administration (very quick in blaming others, very slow in concrete action) has so far shown nothing on the ground and it is unsurprising that the efforts by local authorities have been of very poor quality.

P.S. The image chosen as cover of the Healthy Street document has very little of a healthy street and it fails in at least six Indicators; for example:
a. Poles in the middle of the pavement, a danger for people with poor sight
b. No cycle tracks
c. Street has high pollution levels

Old Street Roundabout cycle tracks not to be built until 2018

In Nov 14-Jan15 Transport for London consulted on a scheme to make Old Street Roundabout safe for cycling and walking.

More than 1,300 comments were received. The headline results:

  • 87% of respondents believed that the proposals would improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists
  • 63% believed that bus and tube passengers would also benefit

In May 2015 TfL concluded


Two years have passed and nothing has happened. If one looks at the TfL website, there is no mention of when the cycle tracks will be built. Moreover the Roundabout was NOT included in the new list of  73 dangerous junctions.

So, what is going on?

We are grateful to Caroline Russell, LAM to ask the following questions to TfL:

1. Why has the scheme not gone ahead, and why is TfL still “working on proposals”?

Following the conclusion of the public consultation on Old Street roundabout in January 2015, we also considered an integrated proposal that included an upgrade of Old Street station and potential commercial development. Consideration was given to both sets of proposals to ensure we secured the best value for our customers with minimal disruption.

It was not prudent for us to continue with detailed design of the roundabout project during this period, as there was a risk of work being aborted if the integrated proposals went ahead. Having decided to progress the original roundabout proposals, we have now issued a tender for the detailed design and construction of the project and expect to award this contract at the beginning of September, with a view to commencing enabling work by the end of the year.

2. Why hasn’t the Roundabout been listed in the 73 junctions to be improved for cycling, walking, motorcycling, under its new safer junctions programme?

The 73 projects recently announced as part of the Safer Junctions programme have been included as they all saw a higher than average collision rate in the three most recent years analysed. Old Street has also had a higher than average number of collisions in previous years, which was one factor that led to it being identified as a key location requiring the improvements we are now looking to deliver.

However, whilst we recognise there are safety improvements to be made, the Old Street project also seeks to transform the public realm and promote active travel, so is included in our new Healthy Streets programme. The project will provide increased cycling facilities, including segregated cycle routes where possible, and will replace three of the four existing subways with surface-level crossings. A new station entrance will also provide a place where people can stop and rest and a new lift will provide step-free access to the retail concourse in St Agnes Well.

The Safer Junctions programme will be reviewed annually to monitor changes and trends, and will include additional locations if and when they are identified.

3. How much has TfL spent so far in preparing the proposals and consulting?

At the end of the last financial year the total value of work done was £2.9m. This includes, but isn’t limited to, preliminary, feasibility and concept design, surveys and modelling of pedestrians and traffic, structural surveys, ground investigations, public consultation and staff time. This represents just over 10 per cent of the estimated final cost of the project, which is £26.6m. As a general rule across the industry, design and development costs usually make up between 15-25 per cent of a total project budget.

At the time of writing, the TfL website says:


… which seems to be another potential spanner in the works and possible further delays to the start of work.

We are also concerned of this phrase:

segregated cycle routes where possible

This is in line with the shoddy approach to cycle safety by the present Mayor.

No Sadiq, you need to install cycle tracks WHERE NEEDED, not where possible.

Contrast this lethargy with the speed they installed the safety barriers on bridges (in the wrong place) after the London Bridge incident.