Transport for London has been ‘caught napping on the technology front’, according to a new report by the London Assembly Transport Committee.
The report points to ‘recent failures in London’s preparations for innovative transport services’ – notably the ‘rapid growth’ of the private hire operator Uber and the ‘disruptive launch’ of the dockless cycle hire service oBike.
The report does, however, acknowledge that TfL faces a difficult challenge in attempting to predict and prepare for technological changes in the transport sector.
Published earlier this month, the London Assembly’s future transport report says that connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technology has significant potential benefits for road safety and mobility.
However, with predictions varying as to when and how CAVs will appear on London’s roads, the report accepts that it is difficult for TfL to plan for the various scenarios.
The report also looks at app-based services, which it says have already had a major impact on London’s transport network, in positive and negative ways.
Referring to dockless cycle schemes, the report says in order to be effective these need to be able to operate across London – especially in areas not covered by Santander Cycles.
The report also identifies airborne and pavement-based drones as two emerging delivery methods that offer the potential to free up road capacity.
Keith Prince AM, chairman of the London Assembly Transport Committee said: “Autonomous vehicles could make roads safer. Dockless bikes could spread the benefits of cycling to the whole city.
“The opportunity to improve mobility for millions of Londoners is here but it will require proper planning, transparency and accountability, as well as cooperation with government, boroughs and development companies.”