If many of you drive in central London on a regular basis you may have experienced the enormous amount of current reduced road space being given over to cycle lanes.
A prime example currently is the East/ West route along the Victoria Embankment from Tower Hill to Westminster and Blackfriars Road from St Georges Circus through to Ludgate Circus and Kings Cross although this is only a fraction of what is now actually being built.
The net effect of all of this work is to greatly reduce the road space for motor vehicles of all types. This inevitably will raise existing high pollution levels, which will far exceed the current EU Guidance Legislation and therefore the EU will have no choice than to impose far higher swingeing financial penalties than they currently do. All of this will be as a direct consequence of traffic travelling at half the speed it previously did.
Therefore TFL in its planning,will have every excuse it needs to legislate against all vehicles using fossil fuels. Many may welcome this as a good move to keep pollution levels down.
The point of this blog is no matter where you currently live this will reach your city and town shortly, and the cost of changing over to electric or hybrid transportation will not be cheap. Its part of Environmental Globalisation and it’s moving at a greater speed than we think.
Are you ready, and do you currently have the resources to meet this brave new world.
Update The process has already started, Mayor of London asks for the public’s opinion on London cycle lanes.
Update on New Measures
New Measures to tackle air quality including five low emission neighbourhoods set up across eight London
Update on London ULEZ (ultra low emission zone)
The zone is due to start in September 2020 and will only take place in the current Congestion charge zone. This could change eventually to bring in more areas.
It will include all vehicles, although there will be some exceptions.
A charge will be made to vehicles that wish to come into central London without meeting the new ULEZ emission standards. The charge will £12.50 per day for car, van or minibus. The scale of charges go up for HGV,s buses and coaches they will pay £100.00 per day. All charges are in addition to a current daily congestion charge in-place at the time .
Update on the effects of London cycle lanes.
In this JPG the cycle lane is to the left of the forward movement of traffic at present it appears to be sparsely populated with cyclists.
The road is an important East-West thoroughfare through central London, public opinion at the moment varies immensely as to the use of the lanes outside of peak periods.
The super traffic computer in London
London has for some time now used the resources of a UTC or
Urban Traffic Computer.
This feeds back constant information from sensors implanted into urban roads and highways.
It also monitors separate traffic flow in each lane, occupancy, speed and vehicle type .
Transport For London, now use these sensors and other devices, to allow quicker cycling journeys through the city. This has led to a backlash, from motorists, transport companies and pedestrians who daily have to deal with its effects.
The use of this technology arguably for better or worse has increased frustration for other road users including existing public transport vehicles, i.e. buses and licenced taxis
Many now have rightly or wrongly have come to regard this as an extreme form of social experimentation, carried out without any proper public consultation.
TFL for its part had placed at various times web base surveys asking the public to comment on the schemes. As the plan went ahead one can only assume unfortunately that the public did not care, or indeed the public did not either understand or fully realise the consequence that might occur if these plans were to be fully implemented.
Cyclists organisations, on the other hand were vociferous in voicing their approval for London Cycle Lanes. As both a cyclist and a motorist I can see the wisdom on both sides.But I believe the inevitability of a rise in traffic pollution will eventually decide the outcome for both sides.
Traffic For London from its inception in the year 2000, has assumed one might argue a dictatorial or even draconian stance in the governance of London traffic. There may also I believe in the near future be many costly and legal challenges to its current and ongoing proposals.
This might take the form of local class actions, from large haulage companies disgruntled citizens and small business operators, such taxi drivers, vendors who have seen an effective and damaging loss of earnings due to the implementation of its traffic schemes and on-going further proposals.
London Cycle Lanes and its effects on the population.
London does have major traffic problems and the TFL model for a future cleaner city is in one sense sensible. But on the other hand one might say, it is being conducted arguably with a total indifference to the effects on the general population. Cycle accidents and deaths are on the rise. The majority of Cyclists are law abiding but have no identification and therefore regularly ignore traffic signals. This has led to an increasing number of accidents, and some fatalities involving cyclists and pedestrians on pavements and roads. The point of this blog is not to just level criticism at any particular group. TFL in its headlong rush for a cleaner city has failed dismally to address major issues such as how does it control this brave new world it has created. TFL may regularly put out statements that they are increasing the number of police and PCSOs on our streets leading to hopefully, improved traffic regulation but as many Londoners both living in and commuting to the metropolis will tell you they currently see very little or no evidence of this.
One might argue, effectively all TFL are trying to achieve is a revolution in city transportation at minimum cost.
The pressure for clean air is mounting
A recent article in a respected London tabloid stated that a major London Road had breached its limit just 120 hours into the new year.
A concentration of toxic nitrogen dioxide had exceed 200 micrograms per cubic metre since after the new year 2017 came in.
The world health organisation has said there is no “safe ” level of exposure above 200 micrograms.
On-going press and public criticism of Cyclist’s
The transition to cycling via purpose built cycle lanes as an alternative form of transport is not
with out its detractors, recent press headlines in a major
tabloid newspaper screamed.
Is London Safe from Lycra Louts ?
The article (not quoted verbatim) inferred, they have now got their cycle and introduction of these is raising pollution to unacceptable levels because of a reduction in general road space. Many argue that cyclists ignore lights regularly that is coupled with the added danger of when impeded they use pavements to continue their journey and use threatening behaviour if impeded and in some rare cases have mowed down pedestrians. This one might add is a minority of cyclists but many of the public including motorists and pedestrians are concerned that TFL and the authorities have no means of identification of these miscreants and have not pursued any legislation to do so.
TFL for its part does provide general information regularly on changes that are happening to surface transport in the city, but many would argue that that this information appears to be skewed toward cyclists and the cycling community.
To the detriment of many others particularly people who have to use the reduced road space on London already polluted and congested road.
The mayor currently rightly or wrongly believes he is gaining public support for his proposals, for a cleaner car free city. I believe his proposals are worthy but the hasty implementation of these is leading to much needless disruption and anger from many groups now beginning to form.
Question : How is all this development Financed
Traffic Infrastructure developments in London have to be funded
There has been for some considerable period now, expensive building and road infrastructure projects including cycle lanes in London particularly within the confines of both the City of London and Westminster. This has led to many roads being close for long periods months and in some cases years, one particular development on London Bridge has lead to huge delays and high pollution levels. Many commuters and business’s who currently use this famous Bridge have rightly asked how were these developments allowed to proceed for such long periods of time causing chaos to our road systems.
One explanation of this could be that local authority’s now level fees for allowing many developments to go ahead. The money that is raised is used to fund other projects which otherwise would have normally been charged to business and ordinary ratepayers. The current consensus is that much of this problem was due to recent and current overall budget restraints from central government.
So to provide London with an up-to date clean modern traffic system including cycle lanes,its citizens are unfortunately required to suffer long delays and rising pollution levels but the financial burden is arguably softened by private and public partnerships. This appears now to be the only way forward to fund large projects.
The City of London is known as the square mile, it is known for its history and ancient privileges it is a city which is an enclave of greater London.
It is currently in the forefront of modern traffic management within it’s boundaries.
They have recently introduced a controversial traffic management scheme at the Bank Junction Allowing only bus’s and cycle lanes within its perimeters.
This junction is at the heart of London business community was received with almost incredulous surprise by many who daily use it for delivery and transport of passengers. The resulting traffic has been pushed into neighbouring narrow streets causing unacceptable pollution levels for many. The scheme itself is laudable but fails to address the problem of pollution the only way forward is for emission free vehicles and this will not occur for many years simply because the infrastructure is not in place for such a move..
Will the car become obsolete as a form of personal transportation in our major cities.
A report on Los Angeles traffic speeds concluded that even with 6 lanes available L.A’s mean traffic speed was approximately 5-8 MPH, no faster than Turkey’s main city Istanbul with its myriad of small roads and side streets. The argument for building more motorways is gradually being eroded as roads expand, it is said as traffic increases exponentially with more road space available, there is no overall benefit to traffic congestion.
Also many people believe that owning a car which is limited in its ability to travel at speeds of less than 10 MPH in urban environments is not a worthwhile proposition. The high cost maintenance required on complex new models is also becoming a factor especially in the EU who are now calling for even greater emission regulation. Indeed it could be said that the problems car manufacturers had in keeping up with emission regulations led to the on-going V.W emission fiasco, is now affecting many other manufacturers.
These problems and the entry of hybrid and pure electric cars are beginning to lead to falling order books for diesel engine and some petrol cars with existing stocks of vehicles, not shifting from showrooms in the numbers they were previously. The writing is on the wall for privately owned cars.
EV And PHEV take-up
There arguable two scenarios for car and van uptake each assuming a very high level of EV uptake to 2025, in line with a trajectory that leads to 10% sales share of new cars and vans before 2050. This has been recommended by a Committee on Climate Change in order to achieve national CO2 emissions reduction targets for 2050. The baseline scenario assumes that there will be some remaining dependency on liquid fuels even in 2050, with consumers preferring PHEVs to BEVs.
The High BEV scenario assumes a more rapid uptake of EVs, with an increasing ratio of BEVs to PHEVs. Uptake of taxis and powered two wheelers is the same in both scenarios, following an ambitious trajectory. Both scenarios assume that there will be significant increases in model choice and consumer acceptance by 2020, across all vehicle types.
Examples of pollution free Taxis for London.
The high introductory cost of operating low and emission
free vehicles in London.
The current and on-going roll-out costs for E.V and P.H.E.V Licenced taxi operators and companies in London is proving a financial headache.
The current cost of purchasing one of these vehicles is currently in the range of £55.000-60.000. The battery range on the on the introductory model is currently estimated to be between 55 and 85 miles well short of what is required for a single owner living in the suburbs and travelling daily into the city. As the vehicle uses electric power for all movement, it then requires a three cylinder petrol engine to keep the lithium battery topped-up.
The petrol consumption required from this unit economically is not much better than a standard diesel vehicle, so where is the incentive to purchase these vehicles, current operators argue. Also the number of charging stations available for all EV vehicles in London is currently derisory.
The denial of climate change by many and the rush for it, has led to many now saying it is far to early to introduce these vehicles into the city without adequate planning sadly a regular fault of Transport For London and its Mayor who constantly want the city to be seen in the forefront of global environmental change regardless of the daily traffic chaos and misery it causes to many of its citizens.
T.F.L current financial Problems
A London evening Newspaper recently revealed that London’s central traffic authority was losing a vast amount of money, through desertion by fare paying passengers on its Tube and Bus transport systems.
The apparent reason was a disillusioned public frustrated with delays and overcrowded transport. One might also argue the point that with the advent of Cycling, U.b.e r and other forms of transport,purportedly cheaper than bus’s for many the inevitable has happened people are finding cheaper forms of alternative transport. London’s Population is also in a housing crisis for many actually living near or close to their places of work has become extremely difficult because of high housing / schooling costs. All of this problems arguable has become somewhat of a anathema to their daily lives.
In T.F.L’s rush to be make our capitol city a leader a world leader in sustainable emission free transport they forget a cardinal rule, small steps should be taken not giant leaps into a possible dystopian unknown future.
An Example is the inclusion of U.b.e.r into London’s transport system which may have allowed up to 110,000 extra vehicles onto already congested roads.
One might say their is a paradox here on the one hand they demand a traffic free environment while on the other they choke and pollute the city’s roads these extra vehicles. It could be said that now T.F.L has major financial problems the inclusion of U.B.E R has provided a cash cow in the form of private hire licensing fees which help to balance their books.
London is justly proud of its excellent Taxi service with its famous Black cabs, suffering now with the intrusion of U.B.E.R, many taxi owner would like to purchase new Hybrid/ EV vehicles but cannot because of substantial cash restraints caused by the advent of companies like U.B.E.R .
London Black cabs are famous as the premier taxi service in the world.
but are currently undergoing massive disruption and change in their organisation and operating procedures. The introduction of new ride hailing app technology has almost devastated many of the companies, owners and drivers of the famous cabs leaving them with fewer rides and mounting debts.
The failure to take-up the new technology , particularly the older drivers has not helped, leaving them at a distinct dis-advantage with others who have embraced
this new innovation in transport.
The arrival of U.B.E.R and arguably its use of surge pricing and the
lowering of fares through subsidising prices, has one might argue exacerbated an already parlous state within the taxis industry. all of this is leading to a race to the bottom, the passengers appear delighted but if one major company perhaps U.B.E.R does appear to win out, then who ever they are with little or no competition they will then inevitably raise fares to what they were before and beyond, competition is vital.
The Facts T.F.L is expected to lose £400 million income from fares and fares will fall £239 million below expectations this year, with income from advertising retail and property also down £160 million.
(Quote LTDA magazine).
The Future Of Driver-Less Cars Is Here
I was originally sceptical on the timescale given for driver less vehicles in London, because of the complexity of the street system we currently have.
The road system in other cities such Los Angeles, using a grid based layout
appeared to provide a perfect answer to driverless vehicles.
One of the original concepts for this technology, was a fixed system of small post installations every few hundred feet on pavement/pathway which relayed beam technology to approaching E.V cars /vans when required.
The advent Of Lidar coupled it appears with G.P.S mapping systems
currently in use, will now without human interaction simply transfer guidance information to the vehicle.
Uber Lyft and others worldwide in the taxi industry, see this as the future and currently are engaged in research and development.
Accidents with with drive-less vehicle’s
Their are now some doubts appearing about driver less vehicles due to recent events Tesla Uber and other manufacturers are rumoured to be ether slowing down or halting manufacturing.
Will this halt the a new transport era ?.
There are some historical precedents for new and advanced transportation causing major fatalities and how the authorities in 1808 in the UK decided in the name of technology progress to press on regardless of arguably unforeseen problems. The first passenger steam train the Rocket invented by Robert Stephenson cause a fatal accident due to a lack of a braking system this did not prevent trains from running or being manufactured.
One might say the accident in fact improve safety within a year all trains had been fitted with brakes, rudimentary initially but nonetheless safety of a sort was put in place.