Tuesday, February 12, 2008

London continues sustainable transport plans.

Since London announced it's climate change strategy, a strange thing has happened, actions to implement that strategy have been taken! That is perhaps only strage if you are used to national politics and broken promises. In London Ken Livingston is putting on a good display of what can be done.

London recently joined Paris in winning the Institute for Development and Transportation Policy (ITDP) sustainable transport award for it's congestion charge, bus service development and cycling improvements. Now London is replicating the scheme that jointly won Paris that same award. The Velib system is a automatic bike hire service with regular docking stations. The exact details of the London system have not been released but 6000 bikes will initially be available. Bike can be picked up by using a credit card which charges a deposit, this is then repaid at the end of the ride. In Paris the first half hour is free and then there is a constant rate per half hour untill three hours at which point the hourly rate increases. The bike is intended for short trips and works as a compliment to underground and bus services.

But the Velib scheme is only part of the overall cycling stragegy, which accoring to the Mayors office has five main elements:

  1. A Central London bike hire scheme, similar to the recently launched Paris scheme, with up to 6,000 bikes located across docking stations every 300m so Londoners and visitors have quick and easy access to a bike. This will be supported by a series of easily navigable routes so that people can enjoy London’s sights by bike.

  2. Around a dozen radial Cycling Corridors for commuters to provide high-profile, easy to follow cycling streams into central London.

  3. The creation of a series of Bike Zones for shoppers and the school run in Inner and Outer London, with cycle priority streets, 20mph speed limits and quick, clear and simple routes that link key local destinations and open parks and waterways for cyclists.

  4. The expansion of the Legible London signage system to help people make short trips around the capital on foot, rather than driving, or taking the bus and tube.

  5. Working with the London Boroughs on the establishment of 200 Streets of Gold – urban makeovers which link key local destinations like stations, schools and shops in inner and outer London with high quality walking facilities, delivering improved pavements, seating and crossings alongside regeneration measures.

This strategy is getting most of it's funding from the newly announced congestion charge increase for large cars. The idea of increasing charges on cars that emmit large qauntities of co2 is harldy likely to be unpopular amongst environmentalists. However, it is problamatic in the sense that a congestion charge is being used for two policy goals: reducing the number of cars and supporting certain types of cars. Local charges, perticularly in a city like London can have an influence on demand for types of cars but things would be done most effectively by having national policies to discriminate between cars based on pollution, and local charges to deal with demand.


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At 6:10 PM, Blogger Libby Davy said...

We used a similar scheme in Copenhagen 11 years ago! It worked really well, and simply required a coin deposit like a trolley at the airport or supermarket. Why make it anymore difficult that that?

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Sarah Keen said...

I think Barcelona is the next city that will be in the spotlight for improving its green transportation and Architecture. In the past year, it's increased its bike share program considerably. This year, the city is hosting the Art Center Global Dialogues to discuss improvements in climate change, design, culture and business, just to name a few. Sounds like some really exciting developments will emerge for it. The blog is definitely worth checking out: http://blog.globaldialogues.eu/


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