Mayor announces “Vision Zero” plan to cut injuries on our roads

Following on from the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, City Hall and TfL are now publishing a series of “action plans” over specific elements of the strategy – giving some extra substance and interim targets to how London will shift from where it is today to the long-term vision Sadiq Khan has for it in 2041.

The Cycling Action Plan is due out later this year, but there is a lot on cycling and that affects cycling in both the Walking Action Plan and the Vision Zero road danger reduction plan that have come out recently.

However, we don’t believe either the Vision Zero or Walking action plan is strong or bold enough to really put London on track to reach the Mayor’s targets by 2041. We think the Mayor needs to do more and faster. If you agree, please make sure you’re a member, and on top of that, sign our Better Junctions petition today.

Vision Zero action plan

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy includes the laudable aim of eliminating collisions that kill or cause serious injuries from London streets by 2041. But that’s a big task. The action plan details how the Mayor and TfL propose to achieve this.

Firstly, there are loads of useful and sobering statistics and facts in the action plan. For instance: “People are more at risk when walking, cycling or using a motorcycle… these modes now account for 80 per cent of all deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads”. And “In 2016, over a quarter of all trips were made on foot or by bicycle, but in the same year, people walking and cycling made up 53 per cent of those killed and seriously injured on our roads.” And “almost three quarters of fatal and serious injury collisions in London occur at junctions.”

Secondly, the action plan targets and focusses on very similar things to those LCC targets and campaigns on:

  • Reducing danger from the largest vehicles – the action plan puts more detail into plans to ensure “Direct Vision” lorries replace the most dangerous construction lorries, recognises the danger buses pose with a new bus safety standard and bus driver training programmes and says all TfL and Mayoral controlled operators will need to feature FORS Silver accreditation by end of this year and Gold by 2024.
  • 20mph across all TfL’s central London roads by 2020 and further out after, plus a 20mph toolkit for boroughs.
  • A recommitment to the “Safer Junctions” programme, fixing the most dangerous junctions, using £54 million over the next five years.
  • Given over 90% of collisions in London are, according to the Police, down to behaviours such as inappropriate speed, risky manoeuvres and distraction, the document commits the police to a greater focus on road danger. They will have a three-pronged approach including officers deployed “where high-risk traffic offences… are more likely to happen”. In other words we expect more “close pass” operations in line with our #staywider campaign. On top of that, the action plan commits to better cooperation between public bodies over road collision investigation.
  • The action plan also says TfL will monitor the growth of new technologies such as automatic braking and “intelligent speed assistance”, and push for new legislation from the UK government and EU to tackle road danger.

Walking action plan

The headline that has captured press attention is “green authority” – whereby specific junction signals across London can be set to stay on green for pedestrians until a motor vehicle approaches the signals, at which point it will switch (after a delay). This technique has been trialled on two bus-only streets in Hounslow and Morden, but now TfL propose to roll it out to 10 more. We don’t know yet how “green authority” works with cycling – do the signals detect someone on a bike approaching? Does that mean cyclists will always face a red signal and wait (as cars will) if it’s a junction with cycle-specific junctions? And if this approach is a positive thing, then we think TfL can aim to roll it out over more than a measly ten junctions.

The Walking Action Plan also covers TfL already reducing wait times for pedestrians across London, a Strategic Walking Analysis to partner with the Strategic Cycling Analysis coming later this year, and a focus on walking to school.

The other main issue for cycling is how scandalously slowly TfL plan to progress major junction works and the Liveable Neighbourhoods. Their chart (p52) says Liveable Neighbourhood construction will only start in 2021 or 2022, Waterloo roundabout won’t complete until then either, and Lambeth Bridge North and South as well as Vauxhall Cross and Nine Elms schemes won’t complete until potentially 2023. These are schemes which have been consulted on, on dangerous junctions and roads, and all of them won’t go into construction most likely until after the end of the Mayor’s current term. 

We don’t think this is anywhere near fast enough. Sign our petition today and call on the mayor to fix the most dangerous junctions now: lcc.org.uk/fixthejunctions