London Mayor Seeks Pollution-Free Transport System by 2050

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  • City mayor seeks to cut 3 million car journeys a year
  • Transport for London needs new revenue streams as grant ends

The Coming Storm of Climate Change

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan called for the city’s entire transport network to operate with zero greenhouse-gas emissions by the middle of the century under a 3.3 billion-pound ($4.2 billion) a year program aimed at reducing dangerous levels of pollution.

Transport for London will gradually expand the city’s planned ultra-low emissions zone so that center of the city is pollution free by 2025 and inner districts by 2040. The entire metropolitan area would be covered by the zone by 2050, according to the draft Transport Strategy.

Khan said the city “simply cannot afford to take the same old approach to travel” as the population is expected to rise to 10.5 million people by 2041. That growth will add 5 million journeys a day.

Pollution in London is already some of the worst in Europe and causes almost 10,000 premature deaths a year, according to research by the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London.

The strategy also envisions:

  • “Record investment” in walking, public transport and cycling, so those methods make up 80 percent of journeys by 2041, up from 64 percent in 2015. That would mean cutting car journeys by 3 million a day.
  • More frequent trains on the London Underground and modernization of key lines including the Piccadilly, Central, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City in the mid-2020s.
  • Extensions to the Bakerloo line to beyond Lewisham in South London and the London Overground to Barking Riverside, the Northern line to Battersea and the Dockland Light Railway across the Thames River to Thamesmead.
  • Creation of a suburban rail metro service for outer London that could improve journey times by 15 percent by the late 2020s
  • Increase in safety so that no one is killed in or by a London bus by 2030, and for all deaths and serious injuries from road collisions to be eliminated from London’s streets by 2041
  • Delivering 4G mobile communications network to the tube

The strategy will require spending of about 3.3 billion pounds a year on average, equal to to almost 1 percent of London’s gross value added. Transport for London will need make up a 700 million pound annual shortfall in its budget that will be created from 2018 when it will no longer get a grant from the national government.

TfL is confident the gap could be filled. It’s developing a range of new revenue streams including issuing green bonds, selling land that’s no longer needed, and earning more from advertising.

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