Special Roundels on the Piccadilly Line to mark the beginning of Night Tube service © Transport for London
Founded in 1863, the world-famous London Underground, also known as the Tube, may just be the planet’s most iconic subway system, from its “mind the gap” warning to its circular red logo to its storied history as a bomb shelter during World War II. While it transports a hefty 1.37 billion passengers annually, up on street level, the city’s equally iconic red buses – many of them the ever-popular double deckers – host more than 2 billion passenger trips per year.
Enter Simon Lusby, a senior strategist at Transport for London, the British capital’s transit agency. He’s part of the surface transport team, which means even if the Tube is the symbol of London mobility, he is working daily to make sure the bus system is just as much up to snuff.
Lusby spoke to us about how London’s bus system fits with MOBILIZE Santiago‘s theme Just and Inclusive Cities Become the New Normal, what he hopes to learn from the annual MOBILIZE summit in June, and the future for buses in London.
ITDP: The theme of MOBILIZE Santiago is “just and inclusive cities become the new normal”. How does London’s transport system live up to this ideal?
Simon Lusby: How we’re planning transport needs to be as inclusive as possible. The new approach to street design (the “Healthy Streets Approach”), for example, is all about inclusion of everyone on the street. Not just one mode, not just healthy people, but actually getting more people out there and making spaces available for everyone.
I think London fits within that quite nicely, with that not only becoming the norm but also being the expectation here. Our bus network is very much at that level. For example, it’s already wheelchair accessible and our passengers are representative of Londoners. So from that point of view, I’d say London could be one of the flagship places where “just and inclusive cities” becomes the norm.
What are you hoping to learn from the city of Santiago’s transportation experience at MOBILIZE?
Listening to Santiago, I’m interested in buses. London has a very developed bus network but we need to look to other cities where they’ve had to address many of the challenges we currently face. London is still improving our approach to multi-modal development and that’s what we need to be learning from other cities. That’s what I hope to take away from MOBILIZE – like integration of public transport, particularly with cycling.
What cities around the world are you most interested in today, as in who’s doing the most innovative work in your field?
In terms of bus rapid transit, there is actually a lot of it here in the UK, like in Cambridge and Manchester. I’m more interested in a few key things. One, is integrating buses with cycling. Seattle has done that quite well. Another is thinking about how do you stretch corridors together. How do you get bus transit through a really, really dense metropolitan environment? I’m quite keen to gain some more experience from New York on this. I also want our London Underground users to feel like they are still part of the same public transport network and have options on how they can travel when they transfer to a bus.
You’ve mentioned buses a number of times. How has Transport for London been so successful increasing public transit mode share, especially on buses?
Without buses, there are areas where one has very little public transport. But now there are bus routes everywhere. 95% of households live within 4oo meters of a bus service. So that goes to show that this network we’re covering is more abundant than people had ever thought.
We’ve got control of the bus network and some of the road space, which has been central. Starting in about 2000, Transport for London put in a lot of buses and that made the services far more reliable. Then in 2003 came the congestion charge. People have to pay to enter the center city, which means that there are very few private cars in the city and that helped the bus network again hugely. Simple things like contactless payment – the Oyster card – made it far more seamless between using the Tube and using the bus.
You know the bus is coming during the day. You don’t have to mess around with schedules or anything like that. There’s probably going to be a bus arriving in a few minutes. Unfortunately though, that high frequency costs money and we still have to continue to adapt our network to support the Tube and the new Elizabeth line. It’s an underground train line between Heathrow and east London via Canary Wharf. It will become the city’s main line, carrying twice the capacity of the other lines. But you can’t build one of these every year. It takes a lot of time and money.
With flashy new infrastructure like the Elizabeth line coming in, what is the importance of a bus-based transport for a city that has such an extensive subway system?
That goes back to the original question of inclusiveness. If you pulled out the buses, which are completely wheelchair accessible, you’re no longer inclusive. So we tend to maintain bus lines even directly above Tube lines because you need that accessibility and people rely on it. When you think about how many different layers there are in the Tube, going deep down into the stations, for some people you don’t want to be going up and down all that.
How does Transport for London collect data on bus ridership?
We have our pay as you go fare system, which is a tap-on, tap-off system that uses Contactless bank cards or the Oyster card to understand customers journeys. That means we don’t know the Tube route you took, we just know what station you went in and what station you come out of. From that travel data we can then understand connections like bus to Tube to bus. We’ve also got iBus which allows us to check the speed of the bus. We can then look at the speed of that service for any delays, as well as gaps between service that are impacting on ridership. If something goes wrong on the Tube, like delays, we can calculate fairly accurately how many people will be affected. So we try to take the knowledge we’ve learned on the Tube and apply it to bus.
This interview is the part of the MOBILIZE Santiago Speaker Series. In this series, we will feature interviews with researchers from VREF’s Future Urban Transport where will discuss their work in sustainable transport and reflecting on MOBILIZE Santiago’s theme: Just and Inclusive Cities Become the New Normal. To learn more about MOBILIZE Santiago and how you can register to attend the summit in Chile, visit mobilizesummit.org.
Ramon Cruz from ITDP will be presenting at a Bonn Climate Conference side event titled “Strengthening Leadership on Low-Carbon Transport to Deliver Long Term Climate Goals“. This side event, organized by ITDP and ZEW, presents a vision for the decarbonization of the transport sector developed by the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), which counts with more than 200 organizations working on mobility and climate. It will highlight strategies for reaching the ambitious goals set out by the Paris Agreement (including the Three Revolutions Scenario), shed light on the economics of carbon pricing, and discuss with negotiators their national action plans to tackle sustainable mobility challenges.
It will take place on Tuesday, May 16th from 3-4:30pm CEST at the World Conference Centre Bonn in Berlin. You can watch a livestream of the event on YouTube Live here and/or catch updates on Twitter by following ITDP & Ramon Cruz.
New ITDP Study Measures Percentage of Residents Who Live Close to Rapid Transit,
A Major Factor in Limiting Climate Change and Making Cities More Equitable
Many of the world’s most important cities are expanding rapidly without adequate transportation planning, according to a new report released today by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP). The report measures the number of urban residents who are within a short walking distance to rapid transit with a new metric, People Near Rapid Transit (PNT), and applies the metric to 26 major cities and their greater metro regions around the world. Of the cities surveyed, the city of Paris earned a perfect score and the metro regions of Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles were among the worst.
“The PNT metric illustrates how unplanned urban and suburban growth focuses on automobiles and only those who can afford to drive,” said Clayton Lane, ITDP’s chief executive officer. “Washington, DC, Paris, and Beijing are major examples of cities that have expanded beyond prescribed political boundaries without effective regional transport plans. Larger integrated rapid-transit networks serve more people and limit climate change—but they don’t grow without foresight and planning.”
The PNT metric was established by ITDP researchers to measure the number of residents who live within 1 km of rapid transit. The report, People Near Transit: Improving Accessibility and Rapid Transit Coverage in Large Cities, released in advance of the United Nations’ Habitat III conference, applies the metric to 26 cities around the world with high-capacity mass transit systems and the greater metropolitan regions anchored by these cities.
Increasingly, the outlying regions of cities are home to less wealthy communities. A recent report from the Brookings Institution found that the poor population in US suburbs grew faster than anywhere else in the country, surging 64 percent in the past decade. Similar trends have already emerged in most countries around the world. Without a corresponding increase in rapid transit access, the poverty in these areas becomes entrenched, as the lack of transportation limits access to jobs and education in other parts of the cities.
Very few cities are investing in the rapid transit systems that serve the less wealthy communities living outside of the urban core, even in Europe and especially in North America. For the 13 cities in industrialized countries that were scored, the average PNT was 68.5%, while those cities’ metropolitan regions averaged 37.3%. The metro regions of the six US cities averaged a score of 17.2%.
“Mass transit systems should grow as cities grow; yet in most cities, governments still rely on automobile traffic as the primary way of getting people around,” noted Lane. “In today’s megacities, road space is already massively congested with car ownership presently at only 10-30 percent, yet building more roads remains a misguided top infrastructure priority. Governments need to better serve the other 70-90 percent of the population without cars, and provide better mobility choices for everyone.”
The rapid transit systems of Seoul and Beijing, the two largest cities in the survey, served the most people by far. Almost 11 million people live within 1 km of each system and their scores reflect the population density.
For the cities measured in low- and middle-income countries, the average PNT score was 40.3%, while the metropolitan regions averaged 23.7%. Of these cities, the rapid transit systems in Jakarta and Quito did not extend past the city borders. Almost all of the other systems only served a small fraction of the population living in these outlying areas.
“In many cities, it’s far too easy for municipal governments to ignore the problems on the other side of their borders,” Lane observed. “But cities today do not exist in a vacuum. All metropolitan regions have an urban core, as well as surrounding communities. People in the outer regions cannot thrive without better transportation connections to the core and other outer communities. Government relationships across city and state lines are crucial to meeting the needs of their populations.”
A Critical Tool in Efforts to Limit Climate Change
Expanding and optimizing rapid transit is also critical to achieving climate change targets. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, cars, light trucks and SUVs generate one-fifth of all carbon dioxide emissions in 2014 that result from burning fossil fuels in the US.
Governments cannot limit these emissions without rapid transit and compact urban development. In a report released two years ago that ITDP produced in collaboration with the University of California, Davis, researchers estimated that more than $100 trillion in cumulative public and private spending, and 1,700 megatons of annual carbon dioxide (CO2)—a 40 percent reduction of urban passenger transport emissions—could be eliminated by 2050 if the entire world expands public transportation, walking and cycling in cities.
“The impacts from climate change could still be mitigated if there is enough political will,” concluded Lane. “The continuing construction of car-oriented development found in metropolitan regions all over the world is a perfect example of this tragedy. Rapid transit integration, including rail, bus, cycling, walking, and shared car networks could connect these places sustainably to a wealth of opportunities.”
How a city manages its parking has a huge influence on other facets of city life, from transit access to public spaces. In a recent study commissioned by USAID, ITDP and consultants SARECO and GIDE assessed Kiev’s on-street parking problem and recommended ways to improve the city’s parking management system. The overarching message is clear: although broad solutions (e.g. changes to the legal system to enable better enforcement, attracting an international parking operator) are unlikely in the short-term, there are many steps the city can take immediately to make the system start working better for users and the urban environment.
To start, the report recommends that Kiev focus on the basics. Improving information and planning will bring Kiev’s parking system closer to a modern scheme that improves access throughout the city and the supports the quality of public spaces. First, the city can clarify the rules of the paid parking system and clearly communicate them to the public. Good ways to inform the public how parking works include clearer signage, maps, leaflets, and a user-friendly website. In addition, clarifying the rules for how parking fees are collected and violations charged, as well as other reforms, would strengthen the parking authority’s standing, and help create a more effective system. A further recommendation is to update the paid parking zones to better align with current parking demands in the greater city. To stimulate turnover in on-street parking spaces, introduce limits for how long a car can stay parked in the central zone where short-term demand is greatest.
A full inventory of public parking supply should be conducted, and the data used for advanced mapping and planning. A clear understanding of the spaces available will support financial planning and accountability efforts by the city. To help keep vehicles in legal spaces, installing physical obstacles like bollards to block cars from pedestrian areas lets drivers know exactly where they can and cannot park, while also protecting those on foot. These steps will help any municipality improve the public’s understanding of how the parking management system functions.
With these improvements in place, Kiev will have a foundation for better transparency, enforcement, and administration. Faced with insufficient legal backing to enforce parking laws when they are broken or ignored (specifically non-payment at paid parking spaces), improving revenue collection from parking attendants is the best course to encourage drivers to pay for parking. The city should take steps to increase accountability and reduce the potential for corruption by rotating existing attendants to different streets. Changing out agents regularly and conducting annual audits of both the finances and physical assets (parking spaces) would help increase both the revenue and legitimacy of parking system’s rules.
Ultimately, these improvements will prepare Kiev for investments in a more robust, modern on-street parking system. In the future, amending local laws to allow revenue from parking to directly support public transit, rather than a general municipal budget, would secure funding for transport improvements. With a clear strategy and commitment to act, Kiev can begin to alleviate the major parking issues it and cities like it face. Once this happens, the city will start to reduce traffic conflicts, improve walkability, improve transit access, and increase the value of public space throughout the city.
Read the full report here, including an analysis of Kiev’s urban and parking history, current challenges, and recommendations for solutions.
All photos credit to Christophe Begon, Sareco
Many factors influence RTR. A dense city may require less transit length to provide the same level of access as a more sprawling city with the same population. Because of this, RTR is perhaps most useful for comparing transit growth over time. As populations grow, transit investment must at least keep pace with that growth and must increase faster than population growth in order to improve the ability of people to move around cities.
This map presents a baseline for countries to gauge their transit growth in the coming years. Across a diverse range of financing and development levels, countries can all make smart investments in their infrastructure, and in turn, an investment in their people.
The Kyiv City State Administration (KCSA) identified on-street parking mismanagement in Kyiv as a major issue for the city’s quality of life, public budget and overall transport functions. In response to KCSA’s request for assistance in parking reform, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) commissioned this assignment and appointed a team of consultants who analyzed the current parking environment and prepared this assessment paper with short-, medium- and long-term recommendations on how improve the payment infrastructure, operations and relevant legislation.
The short-term recommendations serve as action steps that the Kyiv municipality can take to improve the system within the next year to increase the prospect of finding an international investor. The seven (7) steps outlined in the paper form an action plan for improving the system now, including lobbing that can be done to pass the laws needed to enable enforcement.
USAID commissioned this report, and contracted SARECO (a Paris-based parking consultancy), in partnership with ITDP and GIDE (an international legal firm), to conduct this assessment.
Parking in Kiev, Ukraine is visibly chaotic. Drivers park their cars everywhere—on the sidewalk, in crosswalks, in moving lanes, on playgrounds, in public plazas, on grass and seemingly wherever a surface space can be accessed. Though a municipal enterprise, known as KyivTransParkService (KTPS), oversees payments in officially sanctioned spaces, there is still rampant illegal parking, ineffective payment methods, and little enforcement.
The problem starts with numbers. With a population of 3.5 million, Kiev has approximately 1.5 million cars. These vehicles vie for only 25,000 regulated public parking spaces, of which only 6,500 are on the street. As a result, drivers fill whatever space they can find, causing obstructed sidewalks and overrun public plazas. Though the answer to Kiev’s parking problem will need to include a greater focus on public transit and non-motorized transport, it is clear that better management of existing infrastructure is needed. Even for the spaces that exist, the current system is broken.
Attempts at reform are complicated by conflict in the region, and stakes are high for reform-minded officials in Kiev. After recent political tensions, elected officials are under pressure to deliver real change and improve the city’s image. Part of this challenge includes making the city more livable. The city is taking serious steps to reclaim its streets, including deploying a new municipal police force to improve enforcement of traffic and parking rules.
Kiev’s parking payment system is not working. Payment can be done at parking meters, to attendants with cash-machines, via mobile phone, or at payment terminals in convenience shops. The attendants accept cash and then print a receipt. In other cities, this type of fee collection has led to spillage of revenue. There is no doubt that the payment scheme in Kiev is leading to lost income for KTPS and the city, as the streets, particularly in the historic city center and core business district, are overrun with private cars. Official estimates assume that only 30% of drivers pay for parking.
Like many other cities in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Kiev was built around walking and public transit. People lived in communal apartments where entire families were raised in single-room occupancy conditions. In the 1950s new mid-rise developments began to be erected outside of city centers to give families more living space. At the time, these developments were connected to the city center with bus and trams. After the Soviet Union dissolved, so did public transit services—aside from the well functioning and superbly clean metro.
Many former mass transit connections are now made by mini-buses and private cars. After Ukraine declared independence in the 1990s, new developments with modern amenities continued to mushroom on the periphery, usually not linked to the provision of public transit. Today, the public transit catchment area does not reach most neighborhoods. As incomes grew, so did car ownership, leading to the current conflict between the number of cars and parking spaces.
ITDP is providing technical assistance to improve the on-street parking management situation in Kiev. A better parking management system will improve the city’s quality of life, revenue streams and overall transport functions—as has been the case in countless other cities that have taken on the challenge.
All photos credit to Christophe Begon, Sareco
Moving is a time to reevaluate the stuff you own. Boxes of family photos? Coming. That ratty old couch? Not coming. But what if you could leave something even bigger behind? Like your car? New developments are often associated with sprawl and more driving. But eight communities across Europe demonstrate there is a different model. ITDP Europe investigated these developments and found by using smart urban and transportation planning and design, they have created communities with lower car ownership rates and less driving than nearby developments of comparable sizes and age.
As a result these communities have less pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, public health issues and other negative externalities associated with driving. These new developments use a combination of “push” measures to discourage private car use and “pull” measures to improve the attractiveness of walking, cycling, transit and various forms of shared vehicle use. As the report demonstrates, these measures work, and could be applied in other new developments around the world, particularly in abandoned industrial sites or on other previously developed land.
Eventually these measures should be applied to all urban development, in order to minimize the need for driving and maximize the opportunities for healthier, more sustainable forms of transportation. Therefore ITDP presents these case studies, identifies lessons learned and compares the planning, design and travel demand management techniques used so that others might follow the lead of these eight communities. Each case study includes background information on the origins of the development and how these best practices were incorporated at early stages of the developments’ planning processes, before describing individual measures in more detail. Quantitative data on vehicle ownership, modal split and transport-related emissions are
It is worth noting that the most successful “car-free” and largely “parking-free” developments reviewed had well-organized grassroots support for the concept from the outset. Planners and decision makers should look for willing partners as they undertake these endeavors. And they should foster community participation to build support as the project evolves, and to ensure the endurance of the vision for the development once it is built.
The top lessons learned from these case studies closely align with the Principles for Transport in Urban Life, and are as follows:
1. Develop neighborhoods for walking and prioritize bicycling networks. The majority of developments in the case studies provide direct, safe and comfortable walking and cycling routes, and plentiful covered cycle parking. They also use a technique called “filtered permability” to make travel by bicycle or foot more direct than by car (Table 2), and locate bicycle parking closer to homes than car parking. This gives walking and cycling a competitive advantage over the car. Some are beginning to use bike sharing to encourage occasional bike use by visitors and residents alike.
These developments are built with pedestrians and cyclists in mind; dense networks of streets allow pedestrians and cyclists to pass, even where cars cannot (filtered permeability). This design is reinforced with low speed limits and traffic calming. By making car use less convenient than other modes, residents are subtly nudged to consider other modes.
2. Provide high-quality transit.
The transport in all of the case study areas is responsive to resident needs, and therefore has high mode share. Stops are within half a kilometer of every home, and service frequencies are at least every 15 minutes. Integration into the regional transit network and long service hours all make riding convenient while low-cost period passes keep it affordable. By optimizing conditions for walking, cycling and transit, living car-free becomes more realistic. Many developments also provide nearby carsharing locations to help residents feel more comfortable giving up their private cars.
3. Create compact regions with short commutes and zone new developments for mixed use.
These case studies also suggest that new developments should be planned as closely as possible to existing job centers and other destinations. This makes investments in transit and cycling networks more efficient and effective. Mixed uses (housing, jobs, leisure facilities, shops, grocery stores, etc.) should be incorporated into new developments at site selection and master planning stage, to minimize travel distances, enabling residents to make routine trips on foot or by bicycle, with convenient public transportation offering a realistic alternative to the car.
4. Increase mobility by regulating parking and road use.
In addition to the nudges the urban design of these communities provide, many also use regulations to incentivize and in some cases mandate reduced car use, using a variety of techniques including placing stringent caps on car trip generation and CO2 emissions and relaxing parking minimums if other criteria to reduce car demand are met. In many of the cases, parking supply has been reduced and the parking that does exist is separated spatially and fiscally from housing units. In some cases the planners have also required developers to fund or build transportation infrastructure and services (including mobility management services) as a condition of site approval. Masterplanning competitions can foster further innovation in both the built environment and transportation planning.
5. Market sustainable transportation.
Many of these developments make ongoing efforts to reinforce their founding vision and to empower residents and visitors to make sustainable travel decisions by offering tailored mobility advice, running marketing and awareness campaigns, and through promotions such as free or discounted transit passes or car-sharing membership for new residents. Ongoing measures to encourage low-emission travel behavior are important to ensure the long-term transport sustainability of residents. Planners should consider whether the developers should be asked to fund these initiatives or if there are ways to create dedicated streams of revenue (e.g. by earmarking a portion of parking fees or outdoor advertising fees/space) to fund them over time.
6. Don’t forget the larger policy context.
Transportation policies at the city, regional and national levels play a key role in shaping daily travel behavior and residential locations in the longer-term. Congestion charges, citywide parking management policies, high fuel prices, and high quality transit all influence mode choice, reinforcing site-specific measures such as car-access restrictions, provision of high quality walking and cycling facilities and filtered permeability. All of the case study cities are served by national railroad systems, providing an alternative to the car for longer-distance journeys, thereby complementing measures to discourage car ownership and use in the local area.
In summary, it was found that private car use accounts for less than 35% of all trips made by residents in all of the sites (Stellwerk 60 result inferred from distance-based data), a figure that is generally lower than comparable sites without integrated TDM strategies. Car ownership was found to be no more than 440 vehicles per 1,000 residents in the residential developments, and less than 200 in sites with priced, limited and spatially separated parking: GWL Terrein, Stellwerk 60 and Vauban. These sites generate less than 350 kg of car-related CO2 per capita per annum, equivalent to savings of around two thirds compared with their reference areas. These figures demonstrate both the efficacy of TDM measures and the importance of building in the right location, close to centers of existing economic and social activity.
Further Research Needs
Further household research should be conducted to update the case studies as necessary and to add to the evidence base justifying the implementation of these policies and practices in Western Europe and in new developments around the globe. Additional quantitative research is required to assess both the demand for car-free living and the financial performance — in terms of rental and property prices — of heavily car-reduced and car-free areas. This would encourage local authorities, planners, investors and developers to be more pro-active in considering this type of development, which has been shown to reduce car dependence and transport-related CO2 emissions significantly. Many of the lessons learned are replicable or adaptable for implementation elsewhere: the task now is to communicate the successful and transferable policies to politicians, planners and other relevant stakeholders across the world.
This paper is the second in a series of policy papers from ITDP on parking. The first paper, released in Spring 2010, focused on successful parking practices in U.S. cities. This paper reviews successful parking practices in European cities.
Parking management is a critical and often overlooked tool for achieving a variety of social goals. For much of the 20th Century, cities in Europe (like cities in the rest of the world) used parking policy mainly to encourage the construction of additional off-street parking, hoping to ease a perceived shortage of parking.
In the last few decades a growing number of European cities have led the world in changing the direction of parking policy. European citizens grew tired of having public spaces and footpaths occupied by surface parking. Each parking space consumes from 15 m2 to 30 m2, and the average motorist uses two to five different parking spaces every day. In dense European cities, a growing number of citizens began to question whether dedicating scarce public space to car parking was wise social policy, and whether encouraging new buildings to build parking spaces was a good idea. No matter how many new parking garages and motorways they built, the traffic congestion only grew worse, and as much as 50% of traffic congestion was caused by drivers cruising around in search of a cheaper parking space.
In the cities reviewed here, parking policy has been reoriented around alternative social goals. Some recent parking reforms are driven by the need to comply with EU ambient air quality or national greenhouse gas targets. Other new parking policies are part of broader mobility targets encouraging reductions in the use of private motor vehicles. While London, Stockholm, and a few other European cities have managed to implement congestion charging to reduce motor vehicle use, more are turning to parking.