OUR TRANSPORT REPORTS
HIGHWAY ROBBERY: THE CASE AGAINST ROAD PRICING IN LONDON
By Gareth Bacon AM, June 2019
We know that Sadiq Khan wants to introduce road pricing to London. It is not difficult to see how he has been laying the groundwork and seeking to make a case for why road pricing in our city is not just a useful option but a necessary one. Furthermore the state of Transport for London’s finances make it clear that TfL needs to either raise a lot more money or significantly cut costs. Although there are various ways in which TfL’s costs should be cut, many of these will involve standing up to militant transport unions and so it should be no surprise that the current Mayor would prefer to squeeze more money out of Londoners and, ideally, Londoners in Outer London who are less likely to vote for him.
This report focuses on why the Mayor would be wrong to try and introduce road pricing to London. It underlines why such a policy would be unfair on poorer Londoners and unfair on Outer Londoners, and it looks at what we can learn from the problems that have already become apparent with regard to 2021’s planned Ultra-Low Emission Zone extension to the North and South Circulars.
The report also looks at the case for devolving Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) to the Mayor and how this might be done, alongside the genuine need to fix TfL’s broken finances without penalising motorists.
CUTTING CONGESTION: THE CASE FOR CAR CLUBS
By Keith Prince AM, February 2018
Given London’s expanding population and the difficulty in terms of both financing and feasibility of increasing London’s road space, there is a clear need to make more efficient use of existingroad space. Although there are a number of ways in which this might be done, many of those options involve trying to price people out of their cars – which is both illiberal and likely to lead to a great many unintended consequences.
An alternative approach is to seek to significantly expand the membership, usage and availability of car clubs in London. Although there are many strong arguments for doing so, under the current Mayor of London expansion seems to have stalled. This is in spite of the fact that ahead of the 2016 Mayoral election, all the major Mayoral candidates had promised to boost car clubs in London.
CLEARING THE AIR: DEVELOPING A MORE TARGETED APPROACH TO TACKLING LONDON'S POLLUTION PROBLEM
By Shaun Bailey AM, October 2017
Improving London’s air quality is at the forefront of the Mayor of London’s environment and transport strategies. This issue has grown in importance over recent years, not just for health professionals and politicians, but for the general public as well. Clearly, the problem of poor air quality is something that needs to be tackled.
In an attempt to tackle this problem, the Mayor has announced several proposals intended to improve air quality in the Capital. These include the T-Charge, which is due to start in October, the proposed earlier implementation of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and the expansion of the ULEZ to the North and South Circulars.
This report evaluates the Mayor’s proposals and outlines how a more targeted approach could deliver the same impact on air quality, but without the impact on ordinary Londoners. While there is some merit in the Mayor’s approach to this issue, there remain several key problems with his approach.
THE ROAD AHEAD: CUTTING LONDON'S CONGESTION WITHOUT PENALISING DRIVERS
By Tony Devenish AM, July 2017
With the publication of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, there is renewed focus on the need to reduce London’s congestion. However the strategy gives every indication of viewing motorists as a cash cow, and the potential introduction of ‘Pay as you go’ (PAYG) road user charging as a panacea that can fill any financial hole. There is an urgent need to offer an alternative approach that accepts congestion is a problem, but which does not attempt to punish those who need to drive.
London’s population is fast approaching 9 million people. It is predicted to reach 10 million by 2030 and 11 million by 2048. On the principle by which you can’t fit “a quart into a pint pot”, doing nothing and hoping that London’s congestion won’t get worse is not a viable option.
While technology may provide a part solution to London’s congestion crisis, we should not rely on it. Driverless cars might revolutionise London’s transport, overturning many of the assumptions with which any transport planner must wrestle. We could see a future where car ownership declines as driverless cars or taxis can be quickly and cheaply summoned at the touch of a smart phone. The reduction in parking spaces would then free up road space and enable some change, but not until the late 2020s or 2030s.
STRUCK OUT 2: JUDGEMENT DAY
By Keith Prince AM, February 2017
It is nearly four years since Richard Tracey, my predecessor as the GLA Conservatives’Transport Spokesman, wrote the Struck Out report. Struck Out considered how best to deal with damaging strike action and whether the status quo was acceptable. This report will consider what has changed in that time and whether Struck Out’s recommendations are still appropriate in 2017.
A BREATH OF FRESH AIR: A BETTER APPROACH TO IMPROVING LONDON'S AIR QUALITY
By Gareth Bacon AM, January 2017
In confronting the serious issue of improving London’s air quality, the Mayor should be looking at how to get the biggest bang for his buck. In other words how to achieve the largest possible reduction in emissions of harmful nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and otherpollutants with the smallest possible cost to Londoners. Unfortunately, as this report will demonstrate, that is not the approach Mayor Khan has taken. Rather, in pushing for a massive expansion of the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), he has chosen an option that will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of pounds, damage business and disadvantage Londoners for a relatively marginal improvement in air quality.
The Mayor has also made some sensible suggestions alongside his misconceived idea of an expanded ULEZ. This report will assess his proposals, making clear their benefits and disadvantages. It will set out an alternative ‘ULEZ Plus’ approach, combining the central London ULEZ that had been planned by the previous Mayoral administration with a raft of additional measures that are better targeted at London’s pollution hotspots. This wouldmake up an ambitious but deliverable programme to radically improve London’s air quality that would be quicker to implement, cheaper for the taxpayer and more effective for Londoners than Mayor Khan’s plans.
CROWDFUNDING TRANSPORT: USING TECHNOLOGY TO FUND PUBLIC TRANSPORT UPGRADES
By Keith Prince AM, August 2016
Transport for London (TfL) is seeing its budget reduced even as London’s population rises. Given this, there is an ever greater need to find new ways to raise revenue. This report focuses on one possibility: the idea that crowdfunding might allow Londoners to help contribute directly and make much needed projects happen.