Vehicle use in London returns to pre-crisis levels

A new study of Transport for London data suggests that road traffic levels in the capital are back to normal.

The Centre for London’s analysis says this risks a return to poor air quality and increased congestion across the road network. It says the number of private cars on the city’s roads are now only five per cent below pre-crisis levels.

However public transport use remains very low. Ridership on the London Underground in July was still 70 per cent below normal levels, it says, despite service provision across the network increasing.

Travel across the city, particularly into the City of London, airports, and tourist trips remain lower than other trip types, such as suburban travel.

But, they say, London is experiencing a cycling boom, with numbers already back to normal on weekdays and even tripling on some weekends. The length of the average cycle hire trip has more than doubled, from 20 minutes in May 2019 to 42 minutes in May 2020.

The report looks at a variety of aspects of life in London. It reports worrying trends regarding unemployment, with two and a half times more unemployment benefit claimants in London as of June than at the beginning of the year.  But it says that since the peak in April the number of Covid-19 cases has been lower in London than the rest of the country.

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