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Data about transport in London!

Change in cycle to work rates between 1971 and 2001 by London borough

For all the data showing more recent trends in levels of cycling in London (such as the main roads count we covered previously), there is very little which tells us about longer term trends. However it is possible to get an idea of long term trends from the Census, which every ten years asks every person in the country a bunch of questions, including one about how people get to work.

We’ve just had a Census in March of this year but the results won’t be out for at least another 12 months, so the latest Census data we have is from 2001. Data going back to 1971 can be downloaded from Casweb or (only back to ’81) from Nomis. In each Census everyone of working age in employment was asked how they travelled to work or if they worked at home (Note: people could only tick one box and were asked to choose the mode of transport they used for the longest part, by distance, of their journey. So this will tend to undercount the amount of walking involved in journeys to work).

The chart below shows the trend in the proportion of people who said they cycled to work in London. There’s very little change over the thirty year period, with the proportion consistently in the 2% to 2.5% range.

Things get more interesting when you go below the regional level. Data is available to borough level, and I aggregated the boroughs into Inner and Outer London (according to the ONS definition). The chart below shows the results.

This shows a fairly remarkable turnaround. In 1971 Outer London residents were twice as likely to cycle to work as Inner London residents, but by 2001 it was the other way around. Cycling to work fell every decade in Outer London (though only slightly in the 1990s) and rose every decade in Inner London.

There are some striking trends at borough level too. In 1971 1% of people in Hackney cycled to work, but by 2001 it was 6%. At the other end, 5% of Hillingdon residents cycled to work in 1971, falling to 2% in 2001.

The two scatterplot charts below illustrate the borough level trends. The first charts the cycling rate in 1971 on the X axis against the rate in 2001 on the Y axis. Boroughs above the line saw an increase in the cycling rate between 1971 and 2001, and those below the line saw a decrease. The second chart plots the rate in 1971 against the percentage point change between 1971 and 2001. In both charts Inner London boroughs are shown as blue diamonds and Outer London boroughs as red circles.


Two things really stand out. First, boroughs with relatively high cycling rates in 1971 tended to see decreases over the next 30 years. Secondly, Inner London boroughs nearly all saw an increase while Outer London boroughs nearly all saw a fall. The only Inner London borough that didn’t increase its cycling rate over this period was Newham.

It’s worth bearing in mind a few caveats about these figures. First, they describe the transport choices of residents of each borough, but not the journeys made in each borough. As many (most?) journeys to work involve crossing borough boundaries, the modal share of journeys made in each borough will be somewhat different (The City of London is an extreme case, as it has very few residents but a huge number of people commute to work there).

Second, these figures include all modes of transport, including rail, which is obviously quite important in terms of commuting in London. It’s possible to instead look at cycling as as proportion of road traffic only, but that doesn’t seem to change the conclusions very much.

Third, this data only describes journeys to work, which are certainly important but still a minority of all the trips taken in London. We’d be interested to see any similar data for non-work journeys if it’s out there somewhere.

Finally, we’ll be making the data available soon, once we work out the best way of presenting it.

Filed under: Boroughs, Census, Cycling, Data, Historic, London

Cyclist casualties in the City of London

We previously posted about the London-wide trend in cyclist casualties by severity. In this post we look at the trend in the City of London, the ‘Square Mile’ that constitutes London’s financial centre and most built-up area. The first chart below (get the data in csv format here) shows total cyclist casualties in the City split into those who were killed or seriously injured and those who were slightly injured, while the second chart shows just the killed or seriously injured. Note that we only have a total casualties figure for 2010, so the second chart only goes up to 2009.

There has clearly been a large increase in cycling casualties in the City over the last couple of decades, in contrast to the London-wide trend which is broadly steady over the same period. There are certainly more cyclists entering the City in recent years, but as this analysis suggests there is little evidence that the rate of casualties per trip is falling.

Finally (and this goes for any discussion of transport casualties on this blog), the recent death of a cyclist in Clapham reminds us that although we generally try to keep the tone fairly dry and dispassionate here, nobody should forget that every death on the roads is a tragedy and any collision can be highly traumatic, and not just for the victim.

Filed under: Boroughs, Cycling, Data, Historic, Safety, TfL

Parking spaces on the Transport for London Road Network

We were wondering recently how many parking spaces there are in London, and it appears that nobody knows [EDIT: or maybe they do! See update at the bottom of the page], mainly because responsibility for the roads network is split between Transport for London, who run the 580km Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) system of main roads, and the 33 boroughs who run the local roads.

So we made an FOI request to TfL asking how many parking spaces there are on the TLRN. The answer is ‘about 19,210’, including loading/unloading bays. It is approximate because

The parking bays on the TLRN are not marked out as individual spaces and as such the figures provided in the attached spreadsheet are indicative figures only. These are based on a vehicle length of 4.8m and are therefore the maximum number of spaces that could be available on the red routes.

That implies that parking or loading bays take up a total length of around 92km of the TLRN, or about 16% of its total length.

The spreadsheet included with the answer breaks down the total by road and by type of space, with London-wide totals as follows:
Parking & disabled persons’ vehicles: 9,640
Loading/unloading & disabled persons’ vehicles: 5,276
Loading and unloading only: 1,800
Disabled persons’ vehicles only: 422
Borough bays: 4,072

Update: Maybe we spoke too soon. It appears TfL commissioned a ‘London Parking Supply Study’ in 2000, which arrived at an estimate of 6.8 million car parking spaces in London. See this report [.docx format] of a Transport Statistics Users Group seminar in 2001. There was an update carried out in 2005, which we have put in an FOI request to TfL for.

Filed under: 2010/11, Boroughs, Data, London, Parking, TfL

Update on 20mph zones in London

We posted before about data on 20mph zones in London, using numbers from this 2008 TfL report. TfL have now responded to an FOI request with updated data on 20mph zones. You can download the data in .xls format from the TfL response, but we have done a couple of charts summing up the overall London trend and a borough comparison below.

This chart shows that the last two years (2008 to 2010) have seen a particularly large increase in the total length of streets in 20mph. By 2010, nearly 2,800 km of London streets were in 20mph zones, 18% of the total.

This chart shows the proportion of streets/roads in 20mph zones in each London borough in 2008 and 2010. There is huge variation between boroughs, with a general pattern of East London boroughs tending to have more 20mph zones. Nearly every borough has increased their 20mph zone coverage since 2008, with the interesting exceptions of Hackney and Tower Hamlets.

Note: the TfL data gives a zero figure for 20mph in the City of London, but a dash (-) in the cases of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea. However, as far as we can tell there aren’t any 20mph streets in either of those boroughs, so we’ve put them in as zero for now, with the proviso that it sounds like Exhibition Road (which has stretches in both boroughs) will be 20mph when its refurbishment is complete.

Finally, don’t forget you can see a map of streets in 20mph zones in London here. It would be nice if this were available as an overlay for mapping services like Google Maps and OSM …

Filed under: 2010, Boroughs, London, Speed, TfL

Cycle thefts by borough, 2010/11

Transport for London recently announced a fall in the number of reported bicycle thefts in London. Ross Lydall of the Evening Standard has the full story, and kindly uploaded TfL’s data on the number of thefts in each borough by month between June 2010 and May 2011. We have sorted the data into a more user-friendly format and summed the monthly data into four seasons. You can download the data here or have a look at the below chart we did in Tableau (you’ll have to click on it to get to a reasonable size).

Filed under: 2010/11, Boroughs, Crime, Cycling, TfL

20mph zones

The 2008 report ‘20 mph zones and Road Safety in London: A report to the London Road Safety Unit‘ includes a range of data and analysis concerning the growth of 20mph zones in London and their impact on safety.

We have converted two tables from the report into csv format and you can download them below:

Filed under: Boroughs, Data, Historic, London, Report, Speed, TfL