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  • Heather Fearfeld

TfL's City Planning Director talks tubes, bus mobility and greening taxis


We are delighted to welcome TfL's Director of City Planning, Alex Williams, to our March forum in London to talk about the much anticipated extensions to tube lines, new buss on-demand mobility and reducing taxi emissions.

Alex's responsibilities include working with the Mayor to develop and deliver his Transport Strategy for London, and developing and gaining powers for major infrastructure projects such as tube extensions and new river crossings. He provides transport advice on Land Use Planning applications referable to the Mayor and manages relationship with London Boroughs. Across all of these it is Alex's role to ensure TfL's planning work is underpinned by a robust evidence base through modelling and analysis.

Alex was formally appointed to the post in April 2017 having held it on an interim basis since April 2016. Before that he was Director of Borough Planning (from 2007). Prior to TfL he worked in LB Camden and LB Ealing

Detailed public consultations will be held this year on extending the Bakerloo line from Elephant and Castle to Lewisham initially and provide a new station at New Cross Gate to provide better connectivity to National Rail, Overground and buses. If the decision is made to go ahead and TfL receives the funding, construction could start in 2023, with the earliest services running from 2029.

A pilot to test on-demand bus services in South London is part of TfL's project to assess how successful this could be in providing a better passenger service but also cutting emissions. The Go-ahead Group and ViaVan have been chosen to run the pilot service, where passengers or groups can book a seat via an app on a minibus at stops not currently served by public transport.

Available seven days a week, the service can carry 14 passengers in one bus, allowing wifi and USB charging points, dropping off at flexible stops within a certain area. Sutton was chosen as it has a high-car dependency and suffers from congestion. The buses will meet emissions standards.

Meanwhile the Mayor of London has put forward £24 million of funding to help London's black cabs drivers switch to electric vehicles. This more than doubles TfL's existing £18 million fund launched last month and comes as TfL launches a public consultation, asking Londoners for their views on changing the age limits of black cabs, to speed up the process of the dirtiest vehicles being replaced with zero-emission-capable cabs.

London is facing an air quality crisis with filthy fumes reducing the length and quality of life in the capital. Black cabs are exempt from the Ultra Low Emission Zone, but they cause 20 per cent of road transport emissions in central London.

There are now more than 150 rapid charging points giving cabbies a wide range of locations to power up quickly. By 2020, there will be atleast 300 points to make the growing demand for electric vehicles.

Alex Williams said ' Making transport across London more sustainable is vital if the capital is to meet legal limits for clean air. The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be introduced this April. There is also a London-wide effort to clean up the bus fleet...including a commitment to purchase only hybrid or zero-emission double-decker buses from this year...our ultimate aim is for all buses to be converted by 2037'.


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