CROST: on the track of affordable tramways

Talk by Lewis Lesley

UCL 4th March 2009

Some specific issues in Central London

Oxford Street

Oxford Street is the UK premier shopping street. In comparison to other European shopping streets, eg. Liedsestraat, Amsterdam or Hauptbahnhof Strasse, Zurich, it has a poor environment not helped by having over 300 buses and more taxis per hour. The noise and poor air quality reduces the shopping experience. A bus journey between Marble Arch and Oxford Circus can take 20 minutes, displacing those not willing to walk along crowded footways, to the Central Line, worsening its overcrowding.

Euston/St Pancras/Kings Cross and Waterloo

Between the three main line stations on Euston Road and Waterloo south of the Thames, traffic is straining the Northern Line, with no spare capacity at peak times. In spite of the present economic problems, there is little doubt that in the future, London based rail use (already 70% of UK rail use) will grow. Added to this will be cross Channel rail traffic into St. Pancras, as the price of oil starts to grow again, increasing air fares. Extra public transport capacity should be a high priority, as Transport for London argued over its promotion of the Cross River and Oxford Street tramways. Unfortunately it failed to persuade central Government to make any funding available before 2018 for new tram lines.

Inner area with poor rail connections

There are areas of Inner London highly dependent on bus routes, suffering from congestion, mobility problems and pollution. Converting bus routes to tram, as the New Addington Tramlink in Croydon demonstrated, improves social mobility, reduces congestion, as car commuters are diverted, and improves air quality. In the absence of public funding, many communities are destined to suffer for decades, health threatening air pollution and noise. This is a strong echo of the decision to replace trams after World War 2 by buses, because they were the cheaper.

Central London
NAO Report
Costs Too High
Reducing Costs
Other Ways
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