Transport for London (TfL) has committed to allocating additional funds to improve walking and cycling infrastructure in the capital over the next few months after new reports show that walking and cycling in the UK’s capital has increased considerably since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
The commitment comes following the publication of new data which shows that walking and cycling are increasingly popular, given the rapidly changing travel habits witnessed as early as March 2020. Londoners were advised to not use public transport unless making an essential journey, and incentivised to walk or cycle instead whereever possible. To make this transition easier, London implemented the Streetspace programme, which included temporary changes to roads across the city, creating a network of strategic cycle routes, extra space for walking in town centres as well as quieter roads in local neighbourhoods.
Data shows that the proportion of trips made by walking and/or cycling increased significantly, from 29% between January and March 2020 to an estimated 46% between April and June 2020. Even as restrictions eased and people gradually came out of the first lockdown, walking and cycling have remained well above previous levels, accounting for 37% of all journeys between July and September 2020.
The significant increase in modal share for walking and cycling is outlined in TfL’s latest Travel in London report, published in December 2020. Traditionally, the annual report outlines changes in travel habits for the full previous calendar year, in this case, 2019. However, because of the considerable changes to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic, a new section has also been added to the report outlining the changes that have taken place since March 2020.
As voiced by London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, “This new data fully encapsulates how the pandemic has transformed the way Londoners travel around our city. Many people enjoyed making the most of the quieter streets during lockdown and this change in habit has had lasting effects, with walking and cycling journeys continuing to be higher year-on-year.”
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Article first published first at Intelligent Transport on December 14th, 2020