Cycle Superhighway Traffic Impact Times Released

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 44 months ago
Cycle Superhighway Traffic Impact Times Released

Plans for Tower Hill.

The 'Crossrail for bikes' segregated cycle routes, running east-west and north-south through the centre of London, have been announced for less than a month, and the arguments about them are already getting fierce.

We may have been naive in thinking that segregated cycle routes that keep vulnerable road users safe were a good thing, but City Hall's release of traffic impact timings immediately prompted an Evening Standard headline bewailing a 16 minute extra journey time for cars. This is all down to traffic queueing east of Tower Hill; Transport for London realises 16 minutes is ridiculous and is working on a solution. We repeat: it's unlikely that the actual reality come March 2016 will be an extra quarter of an hour on your morning commute.

The average peak delay is predicted to be 1 minute 26 seconds on the east-west route and 2 minutes 43 seconds on the north-south, and the traffic flow has been worked out so that if you're delayed on your journey in, you'll likely make it up on your way home. For example, Tower Hill to Parliament Square will be 19 seconds slower on a morning, but 3 minutes 52 seconds faster on the return commute. Buses also lose and gain up to 7 minutes either way.

This isn't all to do with the cycle superhighways — the traffic impact study also includes the effects of 19 other schemes, either under way or planned, that will be in place by the time the segregated tracks are due to open. It also assumes the volume of traffic won't have fallen by then, when the general trend is downwards. It's worth noting, too, that the superhighways will create new pedestrian crossings and straighten out some that are currently staggered (yes, please).

London Cycling Campaign and Cyclists in the City are noting some major opposition (including one briefing thought to be from the Canary Wharf Group, and the City of London and various business groups also voicing concerns), but there's also a phalanx of businesses ranged on the pro side.

If this weren't such a serious business we'd be making Harry Hill 'fight!' jokes. But it is, so we're not.

Last Updated 26 September 2014


Improvments to car journey times need to be factored in though - the statistics miss this because they are biased in favour of anti-cycling agenda.

For example, where whole stretches of road will be allocated for vehicles only, drivers will be closer together (not having to sink back to give a cyclist space) plus drivers will be able to drive faster (not stuck behind a slow cyclist).

Chris Kenyon

Worth calling out that all the businesses that have spoken out directly have supported the plans. There is an impressive list of large employers @ www.CyclingWorks.London. Deloitte, Barts NHS Trust, Euromoney, Jones Lang La Salle, Knight Frank, Barratt London, Simon & Schuster, Balderton Capital......

See below:

I am supporting the proposal to implement segregated cycle super-highways in London, including a route east-west close to Barts and to The Royal London and along the Victoria Embankment.

Mr Peter Morris, Chief Executive of Barts Health NHS Trust

‘The Mayor’s plan and vision for cycling are great news for the film business in London. We look forward to seeing them in place without delay.’

Marc Schipper – CEO , Exclusive Media | Hammer Films

‘The proposed North–South and East–West routes will help this city attract and retain the entrepreneurs and employees that London’s businesses needs to thrive. Let’s see them soon!’

Harry Briggs Principal, Balderton Capital

‘I’m the MD and founder of a 30+ person technology research company in London. More than half of our staff cycle to work and cycling is the primary way we get around town to see clients and partners. The efficiency and health benefits are clear to our business.’

‘Bringing a Dutch-style cycling infrastructure to London is long overdue, as would be sensible proposals to limit the hours of HGVs on the road. To keep the SMEs like ourselves that attract talent and power London’s economy growing, we can’t waste more time in reallocating public space to healthy, efficient, and green transport.’

Richard Kramer, Founder & Managing Director, Arete LLP

‘Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC supports the proposals to implement segregated cycle super-highways in London, including two routes close to our headquarters across Blackfriars Bridge and along the Victoria Embankment.’

Christopher Fordham – Chief Executive Officer, Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC

‘Like many businesses in London, a fast growing number of our employees cycle to work. An even larger proportion or the team would cycle to the office if they felt comfortable and safe on the roads….

These plans are good for business, for London and for all Londoners whether they cycle or not.’

John Redford, Vice Chairman, Millnet


Plenty of people have pointed out that the predictions of dire increases in journey times are (a) partly due to other schemes, and (b) worst-case scenarios, assuming a relatively low switch from motor vehicle use.

It's also worth pointing out that when people predict traffic chaos, it usually doesn't happen! The most notable example was the Olympics last summer.

When "chaos" is predicted, people adapt. Depending mainly on the purpose of their journey, they may find they can travel at another time, and/or via a different route, and/or to a different destination (e.g. for shopping trips), or simply decide not to make the journey at all (e.g. hold a teleconference instead of a meeting).

Or of course they might change their mode of transport. In which case, it's always possible that they'll discover that cycling is far quicker, cheaper and more enjoyable than whatever they were previously doing!

Admittedly, we humans don't like having to adapt. But we're perfectly capable of doing so when the right incentives are in place. Losing a bit of #Space4Driving and creating more #Space4Cycling would be an excellent way to incentivise healthier, cleaner cheaper and more efficient behaviour.

Roger Geffen
Campaigns & Policy Director, CTC


The whole plan needs to be studied again. The area around Victoria Embankment in addition to a cycle lane has a cycle park taking up one traffic lane. A complete waste of space. As a result I am opposed to the present scheme