Cycling infrastructure in London

Institute of Civil Engineers Proceedings
Publication date: 
November 2015

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The aims of this article are to demonstrate the successes and failures of the £100million London Cycle Network plus project and to discuss the standard of the highway engineering schemes delivered, particularly in relation to their overall effect on ride quality as defined by the cycling level of service assessment set out in the 2014 London cycling design standards. By highlighting areas where changes could have been made to improve the delivery of the project, it is hoped that lessons can be learnt for future projects of this type. The design approaches of each of London’s 33 local authorities were cross-referenced against cycling growth and pedal cycle collisions. From the analysis, the project is shown to have had a positive impact on promoting cycling growth in central London but little identifiable impact on collisions. The article also shows how a reliance on shared-use footways as a design practice could reduce the propensity for people to cycle. As a conclusion, it is suggested that ride quality should be the primary measure of success even if, in reality, the cost of delivering this and the impact it may have on other road users may render the highest levels of service difficult to achieve at present. The paper is relevant to all those seeking to manage or set up major transport projects with time-constrained objectives. It will be of particular interest to those involved in the planning or delivery of cycling infrastructure.