Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Bicycle Infrastructure

London’s Protected Bike Lanes Move People 5 Times More Efficiently Than Car Lanes

A 2014 artist’s rendering of Blackfriars Junction, immediately west of Upper Thames Street, after protected bike lane installation.

PlacesForBikes is a PeopleForBikes program to help U.S. communities build better biking, faster. You can follow them on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook or sign up for their weekly news digest about building all-ages biking networks.

Leave it to a Brit to deliver a mathematical smackdown this courteously.

History may never record which anonymous bureaucrat was assigned to field the following question about London's protected bike lane network (known there as "cycle superhighways") submitted to the public agency Transport for London:

Prior to the introduction of cycle superhighway, certain claims were made by TfL on the impact on traffic on Upper Thames St. Congestion now seems to be worse than predicted. Please supply any data or reports on the prediction v. reality. If no analysis has been done, please let me know if it will be and if not, why not. Thank you.

The bureaucrat found while looking up the data for this question that some auto speeds (especially the eastbound evening rush hour) were indeed slower than first modeled, while others (the westbound morning rush hour -- so, in most cases the same commuters) came out faster than first modeled:

false

That's when the Transport for London bureaucrat also dropped this mind bomb into the conversation:

Recent monitoring data shows that central London segregated cycle lanes are moving five times more people per square metre than the main carriageway, with East West Cycle Superhighway seeing a more than 50 per cent increase the total mileage cycled.

Because the person who asked the question, after all, didn't ask about auto congestion. They asked about traffic congestion.

And the happy news from this project seems to be that because "traffic" means people, not cars, London's new protected bike lane network has made Upper Thames Street much, much more efficient -- because it gave more Londoners a way to comfortably move through their city in a way that requires less public space.

Via Last Not Lost.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Monday’s Headlines Bring Another Setback

The Biden administration's new rule requiring states to report their greenhouse gas emissions from transportation was dealt another blow when the Senate voted to repeal it.

April 15, 2024

‘The Bike Is the Cure’: Meet New Congressional Bike Caucus Chair Mike Thompson

Meet the incoming co-chair of the congressional bike caucus — and learn more about how he's getting other legislators riding.

April 15, 2024

Calif. High-Speed Rail Takes a Step Towards Acquiring Trains

The contract calls for two prototype trainsets for testing to be delivered by 2028, and four trainsets to be used on the "early operating segment" between Merced and Bakersfield, ready between 2030 and 2033.

April 12, 2024

Friday’s Headlines Are Still Unsafe

Traffic deaths are declining for those ensconced in thousands of pounds of steel. For the rest of us, not so much.

April 12, 2024

Measure HLA Is Now Officially Law for L.A. City

Check the city maps to find what bus, bike, and walk improvements are coming to streets in your neighborhood.

April 12, 2024
See all posts