Those in London’s most deprived areas twice as likely to be killed or seriously injured in road collisions

Transport for London has published a report on inequalities on the road network suggesting that deprivation, gender, age and mode of transport all have a significant impact on the risk of being killed or seriously injured in a collision.

The report finds that in London the more deprived the area, the higher the risk that someone travelling in that area will be seriously injured or killed in a road traffic collision in that area, with the 30% most deprived postcodes having more than double the number of casualties per kilometre compared with the least deprived 30%.

The same is also true for people living in London’s more deprived areas who are travelling in London as a whole. The more deprived the area someone lives in, the higher the risk they will be injured or killed in a road traffic collision wherever they are travelling in London, with people from the 30% most deprived home postcodes having nearly double the risk of people from the least deprived 30%.

For all casualties, the 16-30 age group has the highest casualty risk across all modes and all deprivation levels, and for all age groups, the risk is higher amongst the most deprived population. Men and boys were found to have a higher risk of death and serious injury in road collisions than women and girls with a baseline risk of 0.53 per 1,000 population compared to 0.22. Men living in the most deprived postcodes are nearly three times more likely to be killed or seriously injured in road collisions than women living in the same areas.

TfL is working in partnership with the boroughs, police and other stakeholders to directly tackle road danger and continues to work on a number of major programmes to make London’s roads and the vehicles using them safer. TfL’s world-first Direct Vision Standard, which reduces lethal blind spots on lorries, is already helping to save lives and prevent life-changing injuries. In addition to the record-breaking growth seen in London’s cycle network over the past five years, with the network growing from 90km, to nearly 350km in 2022, TfL has also continued to work on its Safer Junctions programme to make life-saving changes at some of the capital’s most dangerous and intimidating junctions. With the recent start of construction at York Road roundabout in Wandsworth, TfL has so far reduced danger at 44 junctions across London as part of its Safer Junctions programme.

Last month, TfL also launched local engagement on plans to introduce 65km of new 20mph speed limits within the Royal Borough of Greenwich, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, Lewisham, Southwark, Wandsworth, Merton, Bromley and Lambeth. TfL is now working to lower speeds on more than 140km of its roads by May 2024 in inner and outer London, after introducing 13.7km of new lower speed limit schemes in February 2022.

However, it says this research shows that continued action is needed to achieve the Vision Zero goal of eliminating death and serious injury from the transport network, and to protect communities shown to be at higher risk of collisions. TfL will continue to analyse the cause of inequalities in road safety, to help target future road safety programme planning and investment for infrastructure schemes, and drive further action to make London’s roads safer.

London’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: “Even one death on our roads caused by a collision is too many, but the fact that these collisions disproportionally affect people in deprived areas is simply unjust. Lowering speeds is key to reducing danger and increasing the number of 20pmh zones in London is a key part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero mission to eliminate death and serious injury from the transport network. We’ll continue to work with TfL, the Met Police and London’s boroughs improve safety on our roads and create a safer, fairer London for everyone.”

Lilli Matson, TfL’s Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer, said: “This new data on inequalities on the road network shows that it is more important than ever to double down on our Vision Zero goal of eliminating deaths and serious injury from London’s roads. Protecting everyone on the road is a priority for us and we will continue to research how road risk varies for certain groups of Londoners and engage with boroughs, police and other stakeholders to reduce these inequalities. Without safe streets we know that people won’t choose the most healthy and sustainable modes of transport and there is still much more to do to eradicate road deaths and serious injuries. We are determined to make London a greener, more sustainable and safer city for everyone.”

Mayor Philip Glanville, London Councils Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Environment, says: “Every death on our roads is tragic and unacceptable. We know that traffic collisions, and the fear of traffic collisions, influence the way people choose to travel in the capital. By collectively committing to the Vision Zero goal, we can create a safer London which in turn means a healthier, more active, greener and cleaner London.

“It is vital we continue to champion this approach in a truly inclusive way that recognises the diversity of London, the inequalities within the transport system, and the impact this has on the risks faced by Londoners as they live and work in our capital. By understanding the data and lived experience of our communities, we can and must do more, redoubling our efforts to reduce road danger until there are no deaths on the capital’s roads.”

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