We have recently conducted some research in to commuter habits and experiences in 10 world cities - London, Manchester, Sydney, Melbourne, New York, Los Angeles, Singapore, Hong Kong, Toronto and Vancouver - in order to give us an insight into the life of the cities in which we work and want to help shape. The results are fascinating and it will be even more interesting to see how they change over the coming years.
London has become an example to other world cities in recent years, with a concerted effort to encourage commuters out of their cars and onto public transport.
The Jubilee Line Extension, completed in 1999 was transformational in recognising metro projects as urban regeneration schemes and not just people moving projects. The formation of the Greater London Authority in 2000 provided powers over London transport policy through Transport for London (TfL).
The first Major of London, Ken Livingstone, introduced the city’s congestion charge (now set at £11.50) for any non-exempt vehicle moving through or within the zone between 07.00-18.00 hours, Monday to Friday. This has led to a 10% reduction in traffic volumes. Other measures to make driving less appealing and safer, whilst prioritising pedestrians and cyclists, include a 20 mph speed limit on many routes, alterations to junctions and the removal of one way streets and roundabouts.
In addition, a comprehensive system of cycle routes has been installed. These schemes have been funded in the main by the congestion charge levy, which has also been used for public transport improvements.
Having one authority with responsibility has clearly been a great benefit and there is now a move to bring some of the train network under TfL also. These measures have not been without controversy, and they are by no means universally popular. They are, however, helping transform London gradually into a more civilised city.
Our research shows that there is a much more even split between modes of transport here than most other cities. London is also top of the 10 cities for cycling, though still low at 4%. Commuter satisfaction is reasonable and whilst there is clearly a long way to go to reach the levels of smaller cities such as Copenhagen, there is a definite improvement. It will be interesting to monitor this in forthcoming surveys, as projects such as Crossrail are completed.
You can read and download the full report here