Cyclists will soon outnumber car drivers in central London

12.00 | 8 February 2016 | | 1 comment

The number of cyclists in central London during rush hour will soon overtake the number of car drivers, according to new Transport for London (TfL) figures.

The figures, published as part of the Travel in London report, show that the number of car drivers entering central London in the weekday morning peak in 2014 had decreased by more than a half from the year 2000 (137,000 to 64,000), while the number of cyclists trebled from 12,000 to 36,000 over the same period.

The report also highlights that over the last 15 years London has experienced strong growth in public transport, walking and cycling, with a trend of falling car use, despite increasing population.

Since 2000, London has achieved a net shift of 11% away from private transport, principally the car, towards public transport, walking and cycling – a feat which TfL describes as ‘unprecedented in any major city’.

Cycling levels increased by 10.3% between 2013 and 2014, while there were 6.4m ‘walk-all-the-way’ trips made on an average day in London in 2014 – an increase of 9.3% since 2008.

The report also reveals that levels of road traffic in London have fallen for most of the last decade, but have shown signs of increasing again over the last two years.

Taking the period from 2008 to 2014, the net decline has been 7.5% in central London, 9.3% in inner London, and 0.4% in outer London, equating to an overall reduction of 3.1% at the Greater London level.

TfL says that this fall in road traffic can been attributed to a much-improved public transport offering, various wider societal changes affecting car ownership and use, and reductions to available road network capacity.


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    I always take any statistics produced by TfL with a pinch of salt. The NHS cycling report pointed out the lack of accurate figures for cycling due to the fact that there is no registration scheme for bicycles. Congestion seems to be getting worse in London – last time I was there, I arrived mid-morning and it took 45 minutes to travel 2 miles in a taxi. The problem seemed to be nose to tail empty buses and traffic/pedestrian lights that were too close together so that nothing moved in the brief time they were on green. Not sure I’m convinced about the claimed public transport improvements – at least half of new cyclists in London have deserted public transport such as the overcrowded tube. As an outsider, driving in London is a no-no for me, but business there does rely on vans and lorries. Interesting that areas of London still breach EU pollution limits desspite the 50% fall in car drivers.

    Paul Biggs, Staffordshire
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