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Source: London Assembly

Londoners took to the streets on bikes and on foot instead of public transport during the first phase of the coronavirus crisis – new data obtained by Caroline Russell reveals just how drastic the shift was.


Between April and June, walking and cycling became the main way of getting around London, in fact 46.3 per cent of journeys were made this way. Conversely public transport use slumped in the same timeframe to just 8.1 per cent of journeys, a quarter of long-term trends.


They are the first figures about how we changed our travel habits in lockdown to show a breakdown by mode for travel within London that includes walking and cycling, and were revealed after Caroline questioned the Mayor who provided an internal analysis by TfL.


The figures show that Londoners were walking and getting on their bikes before the Mayor’s major Streetspace programme, which began schemes including pavement widening and temporary bikes lanes, from June.


Caroline Russell said:


These figures show traffic clogged and polluted roads are not inevitable. Given half a chance Londoners will walk and cycle as their main way of getting around.


During the first lockdown Londoners got a real taste of clean air and quieter streets, and these figures show they got on and made the most of it. Our streets and parks have been so full of people of all ages walking and cycling, and children riding bikes are no longer an unusual sight.


The Mayor must do all he can to avoid a car-jammed city, and provide safe conditions for walking and cycling throughout London – from the centre to the suburbs – so more Londoners can be healthy and active.


We now know it’s possible to grow walking and cycling in London almost overnight, enabling a rapid response: cutting road danger, clearing polluted air and tackling the climate emergency. The Mayor must bring forward more money for low traffic neighbourhoods throughout London, smooth accessible pavements with tactile paving in the right places and new cycle lanes to link up a city-wide network.


Transport for London say these are indicative estimates for periods in spring and summer 2020, and they are unable to derive similar estimates for inner and outer London separately.


These figures are indicative working estimates based on the limited available data. Because of data constraints, they are not directly comparable to TfL’s historical annual estimates of mode share, published in its annual Travel in London reports. These are likely to be revised in the future as better data emerges.

MIL OSI United Kingdom