Wednesday, 30 January 2013

In Hackney, more people who travel to work use a bike than use a car. Among Inner London residents, more than 7% who travel to work now travel by bicycle. Across London as a whole, 4.3% now travel by bike to work, up from 2.3% in 2001

Graph shows 2011 census data. This shows the percentage of people who travel to work and use a bicycle as their main method of transport to work by borough

The Office for National Statistics earlier today published another round of data from the 2011 census. One of the most compelling data sheets is the 'main method of travel to work'. Crunching that data  @geographyjim wrote on twitter that the number of people cycling to work in London has grown from 2.1% in 1971, to 2.4% in 1981, then dropped to 2.0% in 1991, hovered a 2.3% in 2001. And then in 2011, it ballooned to 4.0%. If you exclude the people who mainly work from home, though, you can see that the total number of people in London who work and who travel to work mainly by bicycle is now 4.3%.

Pictured above is a graph that shows the percentage of people who travel to work and use a bicycle as their main method of transport, broken down by London borough. The average in inner London is now 7.2%.

What's really astonishing, though, is to see how the bicycle is now overtaking car-use. If you look below at the population of Hackney that travels to work, more of them now go by bicycle than by car. In Islington, it's pretty much 50/50 split.

In Hackney, more people cycle to work than drive to work. In Westminster, however, twice as many people drive to work as cycle to work (and this despite the fact that there are more places to work in Westminster, ie there are potentially more local journeys to employment than there are in Hackney). 11.2% of Westminster's population drives to work and only 5.3% cycles. In Hackney, 15.4% cycle and 12.8% drive.

What this comes down to is policy. If you review the policies of Hackney and Westminster, you'll see that Hackney makes it easier to cycle than to drive. The City of Westminster, however, makes it easier to drive than cycle. Unsurprisingly, Westminster's policies have led to more people using cars and to the "parking stress" that Westminster complains is cluttering up its streets. It's not just me who thinks that. The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea wrote an official objection to the City of Westminster's Local Plan last year saying that "Westminster’s [new] policies on residential parking policy and public car parks...would greatly increase the number of off-street car parking spaces in Westminster and, it is considered, would inevitably produce additional traffic congestion within Central London including the Royal Borough." Plan for more cars and, surprise, surprise, you get more cars. Plan for bike journeys and journeys on foot and, surprise, surprise, you get more journeys by bike and on foot.

Thumbs up to Hackney. And let's watch as the City of Westminster continues to pursue policies to have more cars on its streets. Even the traffic-chocked hell of Moscow thinks the sorts of policies that are popular in the City of Westminster need consigning to the dustbin.

If you look at outer London, the picture is pretty miserable, though.

With the exception of neighbouring boroughs Richmond and Kingston, there is virtually nothing going on when it comes to cycling. Places like Newham are really not far from central London by bike. Half an hour and you can be in the City of London. But only 1.7% cycle to work. My own view is that the hostile street environment in Newham and the refusal by that local authority (as in Westminster) to make cycling an attractive and cost-effective option for its residents. Newham could be another Hackney. But it's chosen the car, not the bike. I'd rather live in Hackney, frankly.



There is a lot more analysis to be done on this data. In particular, a look at the historic trends.But the fact is simple. Create conditions for people to cycle to work and they will. Create conditions for people to drive to work, and they will. Local authorities have to chose. In the case of Westminster and Newham, the councillors have chosen more cars. Let them live with the rising congestion, the rising pollution, the inefficient and ugly streets. And let the rest of us live in places where we can walk and cycle to work faster, more cheaply and without dumping congestion on the rest of the road network.

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More on this topic in Friday's Evening Standard:








20 comments:

  1. As a Harrow cycle commuter, how can I identify the other 5...??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You could go to a meeting of Harrow Cyclists. You'll find the other five there.

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  2. Hi, loving your work.

    Knowing your oft-mentioned views on how rubbish Westminster Council are, do you have a contact point or suggestion for where to start where I can voice my opinions? It struck me again this morning how underserved cyclists are - the lack of ASL coming on to Parliament sq from Abingdon St in particular, though it's by no means alone!

    Cheers

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    Replies
    1. I find contacting the cycling@westminster.gov.uk useless and gives no response, I have been raising issues with them about the lack of permiability through the West End only to be met with silence. I have been advised by Lee Roley the former head of the Transport Committee the chair is now cllr Astaire and is now responsible for this, her assistants e-mail address is amaclellan@westminster.gov.uk

      Also, it is worth contacting Colin Wing of Westminster Cyclists

      Delete
  3. It'll be interesting to see what Cycle Superhighway 5 will do to a borough such as Lewisham this year. Categorised by some as inner London and others as outer, it is very close to central London but plagued by an (erroneous) perception of being too far away to cycle into town from.

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  4. I started commuting from where I live in Dagenham to Fulham (18 miles) last year and it's changed my life for the better.

    Although riding alongside 6 lanes of dual carriageway for 6 miles isn't ideal (mainly the CS3/A13) it's the main thing that makes my commute practical.

    Basically the lesson is the outer boroughs need some half decent uninterrupted cycle paths to get people into the centre. Without them, you've got miles and miles of hostile roads (and traffic lights etc) before you even get into the madness of the centre.

    Although the CS3 from Barking to Tower Hill is far from perfect - you have to give way to dozens of side turnings along the route, its badly maintained and workmen are constantly putting road signs in the middle of the lane which are invisible until you almost hit them when heading eastbound at night etc etc, it's still vastly preferable to the alternatives.

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  5. With the the tube zones being so Western centric it makes financial sense for those in the East to commute to the City, but the available routes in are so unfriendly that it takes real dedication.
    For years my options were navigating the Bow Fly-Over on the A11 or the Eastway A12 then Victoria Park, though with the Park being closed at dusk there was only really one option once the clocks went back.
    I had hoped that the Olympics would introduce some new decent infrastructure but thus far we only have some promising proposals for the A11.
    BillG

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  6. I think i may be reading the results wrongly but the cycle to work figure for London appears to be 2.6% rather than the 4% quoted here. Am i reading the wrong data?

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  7. I think you are. 2.3% in outer London, 7.2% in inner London, unless you're reading some other data?

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    Replies
    1. Hi there Cyclists in the City, thanks ever so much for responding.

      I got the data from here: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?newquery=*&newoffset=75&pageSize=25&edition=tcm%3A77-286348

      Referring to table QS701EW, is this the wrong file? Can you please provide a link to the data used above?

      I only ask as when looking at the data I found i became depressed when it suggested that the Newham cycle to work rate (I am a resident) seems to have fallen from about 1.3% in 2001 to 1.0% in 2011, I'd be very happy if you can prove me wrong! (I find the ONS site an absolute maze and statistics around cycling seem to differ everywhere I look!)

      Fres Smith below, please move to Newham and cycle, someone needs to use the Greenway and the proposed CS2!


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    2. Go to http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?newquery=*&newoffset=75&pageSize=25&edition=tcm%3A77-286348 and download table QS701EW Method of travel to work

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    3. Hi Anon, make sure you're excluding the number of people who don't work from your calculation - I made the same mistake initially!

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  8. I'm thinking of moving to West Ham (Newham), so at least they might have one cyclist, unless I can afford somewhere nicer!

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  9. I live in Hackney, and I'm one of those 15.4% of residents who commute to work by bike. For me it's not just about cars vs bikes - it's also about public transport, specifically the paucity of tube stations in Hackney. I don't have a tube station within walking distance of me. It takes a walk and a bus, or a bus and a train for me to get to a tube station. So I cycle to work (and pretty much everywhere else), because it's quicker and easier.

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  10. Is Hackney really greener than Westminster? It is interesting to look at walking to work as well as cycling, i.e. all active travel. Westminster has 21.5% mainly walking to work, the best of all the boroughs (apart from the City). Hackney is only 12.5% walking, ranked 9th. Over all active travel, i.e. walking plus cycling, Hackney is still best (again excluding the City) at 28%. But now not much different to Islington at 26.9% or Westminster at 26.8%. If you look at those driving to work, Hackney at 12.8% is worse than Westminster at 11.2%. The high figure for cycling to work in Hackney is excellent. But to a large extent looks to be due to people switching from walking (and maybe also not using the relatively poor public transport). It is not because fewer people drive to work.

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