Are the London Superhighway routes a success?ShareThis
It’s a funny old world. In December, the Transport Committee of the London Assembly claimed that the two Barclays Cycle Superhighway routes that are now operating in London were not encouraging more people to cycle.
On Tuesday, Transport for London (TfL) claimed on the other hand that the routes, which run from Merton to the City of London and Barking to Tower Gateway, have seen a 70% increase in cycle traffic using the routes.
TfL compared figures for cyclists using the two pilot Barclays Cycle Superhighways on the A24 and A13 during October 2010 and compared them to the same roads in 2009 when they the routes were just normal roads. They found a 50% increase in the total number of cyclists using the A24 and on the A13 cyclist numbers more than doubled for the same period.
There are also contrasting views on whether the Barclays Cycle Superhighways has improved safety for cyclists using them.
The TfL’s own survey research, conducted one month after the launch of the Superhighways, found that 60% of cyclists said the blue coloured surfacing made them feel safer, while overall, more than three quarters asked said that the Barclays Cycle Superhighways had improved safety for cyclists.
The London Assembly Transport Committee’s own survey (of 1,297 people) found that more than half of respondents did not feel any safer on the Superhighways with users finding the lanes too small. Only 1% of the survey said that the introduction of the Superhighways had made them start cycling.
Maybe it is best to wait for a whole calendar year to pass before we make judgments on the perceived success of the Superhighways. After all it has only been six months since they came into use. What is clear is that work has already started on two new routes and feedback both critical and positive should be taken on by the TfL on the builds for these new routes.
On a positive note, TfL stated that the average the time spent travelling on the Cycle Superhighways (per journey) was around 21 minutes for the Merton to City route and 17 minutes along the Barking to Tower Gateway route. Its research also found that around 80% of journeys made along both routes were cyclists commuting to and from work. Those who had switched to cycling on the routes from another mode stated that the main reasons for doing so were to improve fitness, save money and because the journey is more pleasant.
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