Smart Transport

Walking and cycling numbers continue to rise in London

Cycling in London

The number of people walking and cycling in London continues to exceed pre-pandemic levels, a new report has found.

Transport for London’s (TfL) annual Travel in London report shows that levels of cycling continue to exceed pre-pandemic levels, with cycling in autumn 2022 40 per cent higher than in 2019.

Since the start of the pandemic and despite significant financial constraints, TfL says it has worked closely with boroughs across the capital to invest in and expand London’s network of Cycleways. The proportion of people living within 400 metres of a high-quality cycle route is now almost double what it was in 2019, with 22% of Londoners now living near one, compared to 12% in 2019. 

Walking continues to be central to how many people travel in London, with levels still noticeably higher than before the pandemic. Around 35% of journeys in London were made on foot before the pandemic. The latest quarter of available data, for April-September 2022, shows that the proportion of journeys made on foot is now 41%.

Santander Cycles, which saw record levels of hires during the pandemic, continues to see record hire numbers, with hires at 11% higher than the pre-pandemic level as of late September 2022. TFL say the recent introduction of e-bikes has added to the scheme’s popularity, with 86,000 hires now made.  

The report also highlights the substantial improvements in air quality over recent years, reflecting the extension of the ultra-low emission zone to inner London, with estimated reductions of 20% in NO2 concentrations.  

It found that, as of October, demand for Tube services across the week was around 82% of pre-pandemic levels, and bus passenger numbers were at 84%of pre-pandemic levels, with the DLR and Trams are seeing around 80% of their pre-pandemic levels of use and London Overground just below this.

Alex Williams, chief customer and strategy officer, said: “We’re determined to ensure that the way people travel in London is as healthy and sustainable as possible and continuing to encourage people back onto public transport is also a key part of this.

“We'll continue to work closely with boroughs to transform our roads and invest in our transport network, enabling even more people to shift their journeys to walking, cycling and public transport.”  

London’s walking and cycling commissioner, Will Norman, said: “We must continue to make active travel around the city as accessible and safe as possible. That’s why I’m delighted that this year we’ve seen the introduction of e-bikes to the Santander Cycles scheme, we’ve built hundreds of kilometres of new or upgraded cycle routes since the pandemic and completed work to make some of the capital’s most dangerous and intimidating junctions safer.”

Read the report here

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