In favour of segregation March 30, 2013 at 2:34 pm
No, not other clearing post: this is about forms of transport.
Consider the data to the right about the composition of traffic at a central London junction in peak hours from Cyclists in the City. This seems to be a reasonably even balance until you consider the space occupied by each form of traffic vs. the number of people carried. Using reasonably estimates of bus and car occupancy, we can work out the impact, in terms of road space saved per person, of banning each form of trafffic.
The results of that are pretty unequivocal. If we need more space on the roads in central London, ban HGVs or cars or both. And boy, do we need more space. After a mild improvement in the early days of the congestion charge, traffic speeds are roughly the same as a chicken. We need to reduce traffic and, objectively, the best way to do this is to remove cars and lorries from the road.
Interestingly the Dutch have realised this. Amsterdam’s new traffic plan proposes segregated routes for bicycles (green lines), buses/trams (blue), and cars (red). The map illustrates the plan: in the yellow area, pedestrians have priority; over that area and much of the rest, different modes of transport are segregated, with motorists not being allowed near the centre. This is a much fairer, safer, and more environmentally friendly solution than shared roads.
Now London’s problem is bigger than Amsterdam’s (not just in congestion terms, bad though that is: air quality is a bigger issue here), so we will have to be more radical. Here’s what I suggest: