LONDON, looking for the right way


London has never been of those cities that have characterized by bet by bicycle. However seems determined to become one of Europeans relating and to do so, is has been introduced from 2012 a plan that includes an investment of more than one billion Euros for the bike with a goal clear: increase by 400% the number of cyclists by 2020.

The driving force behind all this was the Olympic Games and in this its promotion policies have been the key element. London’s public transport network was privatized years ago Although multiple operators of buses, the metro, the light rail, rail, boats and bike system publishes newly implanted are managed by the public entity ‘ Transport for London’.

The objective of the plan is to get not only the most courageous, but also the rest of Londoners, is aimed at cycling.

Description of the context:

Demographics, location, main features of the environment

London, capital of England and the United Kingdom, is located on the banks of the River Thames in the southeast of the island of Great Britain. Currently citizens of London consists of a large number of ethnic groups, cultures, and religions living exemplary only where there is no social conflicts that outline. In 2008 the population of London was of 7.600.000 inhabitants in the urban area while the metropolitan area reached a population estimated between 12 and 14 million people.

London is one of the most visited capitals of the world and therefore is a mirror where many cities can be regarded.

London has a temperate oceanic climate, rarely warm summers (18° C), as well as a very severe winter (0-3º C). In summer, temperatures hardly amount to more than 33 ° C, although high temperatures have become recurrent. The highest temperature recorded in London was 38.1 ° C in the 2003 heat wave. London is the city of Europe most polluted, despite having a large expanse and large green areas, industries and automobiles emit much of the polluting gases in the British Isles.


Agents involved


Means to the vast majority of the population to the extent in which are users of public transport in London.

-Bicycle users:

the cyclist circulating on the streets is very heterogeneous in terms of the type of bike used, rider clothing and even in terms of the attitude or behavior regarding their motorized environment. Very important also is the parity between men and women cyclists. Finally as for the age of cyclists, there are users of all ages and even incentive programs for accessibility in children to school bicycle. There are many cyclists who use folding bikes on the road, in the United Kingdom are the most prestigious brands of bikes such as it can be Bromtom. Secondly, one can speak of the bicycle user group of 700 mm diameter wheels. This is a large group which are mostly classic road bikes and their derivatives “vintage”. The London underground allows you to circulate through all its lines with folding bikes, fact that does not occur with the other types that are restricted by zones and hours.


-Tourism companies:

the messengers bike commonplace in this city, and whose practical, however, fails to Jell in Spanish cities.

There are also taxis-tricycle with an eminent playful-tourist character and which operate in the city centre.

There are also a certain amount of tourism companies that are dedicated to guided bike tours or rent them. In short, the bike and everything that moves around it generates a large amount of money and it is creating a significant number of jobs, for this reason the British Government encouraged with numerous measures to the bike industry.

-Bike stores:

Much of the London bicycle shops are attached to a network of establishments featured from the Administration for their dedication to the promotion of safe and responsible cycling outside of its own commercial policy.

-Companies operating public transport:

Most of London’s public transport is private, yet has teamed up with sustainable mobility policy allowing the introduction of bicycles on vehicles intended for the carriage.

-Car users:

barely there is private transport through the Centre of London because of the controversial imposition of fees which has reduced the traffic by 20%.

-City center Shops:

The shops in the center of the city suffered a significant decline in revenues due to the introduction of the congestion charge. 80% of shops were positioned themselves against and so reported to the council.

-City council:

Since 2001 the city council of London has promoted the sustainable mobility with different initiatives. TFL( transport for London) It is the part responsible for carry out the mobility programs.

-Serco Group/Barclays

The BCH is contracted to and operated by Serco Group (Serco Group is a British government services company. Among its operations are public and private transport and traffic control, aviation, military and nuclear weapons contracts, detention centers and prisons and schools.) and carries the name and distinctive colors of Barclays Bank which purchased the right to advertise in this way for a contribution of £25 million spread over five years (18% of the scheme’s initial cost) to the project’s funding.

Social problems and existing controversies


-Bicycle theft:

Around than 20,000 are stolen in London each year. This percentage has increased 33% in recent years, so that the thefts have become one of the main causes of insecurity among London cyclists.

-Traffic danger

5In central London there are hardly any bike lanes and bicycle traffic is necessarily on the road. Hardly private vehicle traffic although there is considerable congestion due to the presence of numerous taxis, goods delivery vehicles and especially the ubiquitous double-decker buses and articulated .

Yet the overall feeling is mutual respect between cars and bicycles. As there is hardly any pedestrian streets and pedestrian traffic on the sidewalks is so intense there are no problems of coexistence bike – pedestrian because bikes are on the sidewalk never safe access to buildings or where they will be stationed .

In any case the cyclist is clear that his “place” in the street has to be respected and is frequent express their disagreement with certain maneuvers of the car as we had occasion to see when an angry biker attitude trucker planted sitting by himself in protest and awaiting the arrival of the police.

The number of accidents involving cyclists is relatively low although in one of our walks we saw a so-called ” ghost bikes ” a bicycle painted that color in commemoration of a victim fatal bike accident .

– Lack of protection

6In 2012 Bikes Alive, fed up with the lack of protections for cyclists and pedestrians who are being killed on the street too often started blocking key dangerous intersections, starting with Kings Cross on January 9, 2012. In November 2013, over 1000 cyclists participated in a die-in vigil outside Transport for London’s headquarters in Southwark following the deaths of six cyclists killed in a two-week period.

In 2005, members of the London bicycling community started a project to track cycling fatalities and other serious crashes. Reports on crashes and maps showing where they occurred can be found at the website – however this site hasn’t been updated in a while.

Some ghost bikes in and around London have been installed by friends of the fallen cyclist .

-Congestion charge

The problem in London at the time of getting on a bike is not so much the distance as convoluted streets jungle , the presence of thousands of cars and buses and lack of secured parking where you can leave your bike without risk that the stolen or that the police take her away for safety reasons .

The mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, introduced the congestion charge at £5 a day in February 2003 with the aim of reducing traffic congestion in and around the charging zone. It was increased to £8 a day from July 2005 and to £10 from January 2011.

Among other aims, the congestion charge is meant to reduce the length of journeys within the congestion zone, improve bus services and encourage motorists to use public transport instead of their cars.

The charge also attempts to collect net revenues to improve public transport facilities in London, as, by law, the proceeds raised by the congestion charge must be added to expenditure on public transport in London.

It was one of the most controversial measures that have been put in place in London from the point of view of. The congestion charge has faced a barrage of criticism since its inception. Opponents have challenged its regressive nature, whereby poorer motorists are charged the same levy as richer car owners, and some have described the congestion charge as a ‘tax on the poor’. The decision to impose the levy on key workers, who are not exempt from the congestion charge, was similarly criticized.

Chronological overview:


Why have been made these interventions? POTENTIAL

Research by TfL found that 35 per cent of trips (4.3 million trips per average day) currently made by public transport and car are potentially cycle-able. Analysis of the characteristics of  these trips shows that:

– 3.5 million potentially cycle-able trips are made every day which would take less than 20 minutes for most people to cycle.

– Nearly two thirds of potentially cycle-able trips are currently made by car with the remainder largely made by bus.

– Four in ten potentially cycle-able trips are made for shopping and leisure purposes and just under a quarter for work purposes.

– The greatest (54 per cent) of the un-met potential for growth can be found within outer London.

– A high density of potentially cycle-able trips are made within central and parts of inner London and around the outer London metropolitan town centres.

With further analysis it is possible to identify potentially cycle-able trips made by those in the segments most amenable to cycling. This can be considered the ‘near market’ for cycling. The near market is made up of the following four groups:

The urban living: those who are young, well educated, reasonably well-off and usually live in town centres.

Young couples and families: those who are young, with relatively low car ownership and young children. This group often have tight finances.

High earning professionals: people who are well educated, affluent, often working in multinationals.

Those with a sub-urban lifestyle: this group typically have an average income, are heavily reliant on the car and live in suburbia. Cycling for leisure is as likely as cycling for purpose.


Description of the interventions

Step by step

The  bicycle policy was driven , above all, from 2001 , when the mayor, Ken Livisngstone , created a new mobility strategy , “The Mayor’s Transport Strategy ” . The mayor wanted to do turn London into a city where people of all ages could rely on the use of this means of transport . The efforts were:  creating more lanes and teach people to use the bike and learn less dangerous routes .

On 17 February 2003 The charge was introduced covering the approximate area of the London Inner Ring Road. Starting at the northernmost point and moving clockwise. The zone therefore included the whole of the City of London, the financial district, and the West End, London’s primary commercial and entertainment centre.

On the launch date of the original zone, an extra 300 buses (out of a total of around 8,000) were introduced. Bus and London Underground managers reported that buses and tubes were little, if at all, busier than normal.

Originally, Capita Group maintained the system under a five-year contract worth around £230m. Having been threatened with the termination of the contract by Ken Livingstone, thenMayor of London, for poor performance, when the zone was subsequently extended, Capita was awarded an extension to the original contract up until February 2009 to cover the expanded zone. Capital employed sub-contractors including India-based Mastek, who were responsible for much of the Information Technology infrastructure. Due to the wide spread of sub-contractors around the world and due to varying data protection regulations in different countries, the scheme had prompted concerns about privacy.


Since 2009 the State program “bike to work” has grown the sale of bikes by 350%. This program has been endorsed by the current Prime Minister David Cameron habitual user of bike as well as the Mayor of London.  The companies that have been added to the program, to encourage their employees to go by bike to the same tax incentives made to it and given workers facilities to purchase bikes as well as parked safely in their places of work.

The Council published up to 19 maps marking the appropriate streets for cyclists. Each year there is a week dedicated to cycling , there is a Center of Excellence Cycling and certain weekends works a team of experts who supervise free bicycles. The objectives of the strategy are : to complete the network, called “London Cycle Network Plus ” to reach 900 kilometers in 2010 , increasing accessibility , safety and bicycle priority , supporting your loan and promotion of intermodal bike – transport.



The London Cycle Network plus forms part of the larger London Cycle Network and is an attempt at refining this network in terms of its priority strategic routes.  The LCN+ does not replace the LCN but instead ensures that conditions are first class along the key cycling corridors in London.

What is the aim of the LCN+?

The aim of the project is to introduce quality conditions on to the London Cycle Network plus (LCN+) in line with objective one of the London Cycling Action Plan.  It is felt that Improving London’s infrastructure for cyclists will have a significant and positive impact on the level of cycling.  Well-designed cycle routes, reduced traffic speeds, designated road space and more parking facilities will encourage more Londoners to cycle.  Much of the work to improve London’s cycle infrastructure is being carried out as part of the LCN+.

The LCN+ Project Partnership

Currently, 495km of the LCN+ is estimated as complete.  This is due to the support and effort from partners across the public and private fabric of London’s integrated transportation environment.  These include: the LCN+ Project Management team at Camden Consultancy Service (LCN+ PM team), Transport for London (TfL) the 33 London Boroughs and the Borough Cycling Officers that represent them, London Cycling Campaign (LCC), Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC) and numerous private sector engineering consultancies.

About the LCN+ Project Management team The LCN+ Project Management team form part of Camden Consultancy Service, which is located within the Culture and Environment Directorate at the London Borough of Camden.

What is the LCN+?

The LCN+ is a planned 900km network of radial and orbital routes for cyclists covering the whole of London, which was  completed in 2010. The LCN+ is characterised by:

  • a socially inclusive cycling environment where high quality standards are maintained
  • routes that are continuous, fast, safe, comfortable and easy to use
  • clear guidance on surface treatment and road markings where there is potential conflict between cyclists and other road users.


in 2010 was introduced the London public bike system:

The official name of the system is Barclays Cycle Hire (BCH) since this well known Bank is its main sponsor. Your manager is TfL which is the public transport authority. It currently has 100,000 registered members and 1,000,000 trips until November 2010. The cost of the system has been 140 million pounds in total for the period of implementation which is 6 years. The current situation of the BCH is 340 stations installed with 8,100 seats. In January 2011, there will be a total of 400 stations. The rates and conditions of use are normal in these systems. You must register, receive an access key and pay rates depending on the time of use. The journeys of less than 30 minutes are free of charge.



Two pilot routes were opened in July 2010, which cover routes of Merton to the City and Barking to Tower Gateway. In July 2011, two more routes were opened, covering the journeys of Bow to Aldgate and Wandsworth to Westminster. The remaining eight routes will be opened up to the year 2015.


NBR (national bike registry):

It’s an initiative that tries to prevent theft of bicycles from 2011, by registration at the national level with the allocation of an identification number that is recorded in the box of the bikes. It is a solution similar to the “chip” implanted to pets, the registration is done online. Local authorities work in promoting this system as well as recommend the use of quality locks.



London is one of the most dangerous places in the world for cycling. “SkyCycle” would remedy that problem by attaching dedicated cycle paths to existing railway viaducts. Sam Martin and Oli Clark, of Exterior Architecture, believe that this would revolutionize the way that Londoners commute.

the concept:

The principle is simple really – currently TfL estimate there are over 500,000 cycle journeys made every day in London, by 2020 they estimate this to be 1.5 million cycle journeys per day. The roads in central London and the arterial routes into London are busy enough with cars, vans, trucks, taxis, buses, motorcycles and bicycles – tripling the amount of cyclists in this environment is, to us, a recipe for a lot of tension on the roads & further compromising of cyclist safety. SkyCycle will not replace the roads, it will simply be an alternative option, the roads of London still need massive improvements for cyclist safety.

SkyCycle will not be publicly funded, SkyCycle will be a users pays alternative to riding on the roads; SkyCycle will be a commuter option and will deliver people to their destinations as quickly and efficiently as trains or tubes; SkyCycle will need to be on Network Rail land and perhaps in some cases on local authority land; SkyCycle would be operated by TfL; SkyCycle will be a safer alternative to a small % of the extra 1 million projected daily cycle journeys estimated to be made in London over the coming years; SkyCycle will get Sam back onto a bicycle and we believe here it is an essential part of the future growth of London and is a very necessary piece of infra structure that will put London on the map as a city for the future.

What are the obstacles to SkyCycle? The cost, inevitably, means that private sponsors may be essential.

 14 15


Success or failure?16

In general, motorways Barclays cycle can be considered as an ‘end-to-end package of measures’ to travel by bicycle to work easier, safer, faster and more attractive. Motorways offer many benefits to the rider, and also to pedestrians and other road users.

These include:

– routes that are clear, easy to follow and differentiable

– enhanced security measures including:

the reconfiguration of the crosses, mirrors to improve the visibility, new and improved advanced stop lines, increased awareness of other users of the road for cyclists:

– new lanes bike mandatory and recommended-improve signage, signage on the road and other information to assist in travel planning and the definition of the route

-new asphalt to provide a more comfortable ride for cyclists and other road-users more parking spaces for bicycles

-incentives for employees to help them facilitate the bicycle ride to work to its employees-training free or with subsidy for travel by bicycle to work.

The research carried out by TfL( the public transport authority)  after the introduction of the two initial pilot routes showed that: displacement bike have increased around Barclays cycle super highways. In total, increased throughout all points count has increased by 46% in the super bike from Barclays 7 motorway and by 83% in the super cycle of Barclays 3

-Highway several places along both routes experienced growth of over 100% cyclists number.

-27% of the people who have answered the market research were identified as potential riders that began to use bicycle since the introduction of the super highways to bicycle from Barclays.

-travel times have decreased by 5% on average in the two routes

-the continuous provision of asphalting blue is shown as popular, almost two thirds of respondents identified a sense of greater security thanks to the paved

-the general traffic gives more space to cyclists, especially at intersections and hotspots

-people was strongly satisfied with the visibility with blue paths.

-more than 18,000 trips have been made by non-members since the launch of Barclays Cycle Hire to casual users.

-1,520 new school cycle parking spaces were delivered at 78 schools.

The NBR consequences:

Between and 2013, there were 19,052 recorded thefts, compared with 21,488 the previous year and 20,411 in 2011. TfL calculates this as a 10.3 per cent fall once fluctuations caused by extreme weather are taken into account.

Every year 8,000 bicycles are security marked, making it harder for criminals to dispose of stolen goods. But even so police officers are finding it difficult to reunite many bikes with their owners because of the lack of identity markings. They have put photographs of many bikes online on the Met’s Flickr account, but urged cyclists to register their bike details online.

More than 2,000 recovered stolen bicycles are lying unclaimed in police stations across London after a crackdown on thieves.

The congestion charge consequences:17

Before the charge’s introduction, there were fears of a very chaotic few days as the charge bedded down. Indeed Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London and key proponent of the charge, himself predicted a “difficult few days” and a “bloody day”. In fact, the first two days saw a dramatic reduction in inner city traffic. On the first day 190,000 vehicles moved into or within the zone during charging hours, a decrease of around 25% on normal traffic levels. Excluding 45,000 exempt vehicles, the decrease was more than 30%.

Anecdotal evidence suggests journey times were decreased by as much as half. Just over 100,000 motorists paid the charge personally, 15-20,000 were fleet vehicles paying under fleet arrangements, and it is believed around 10,000 liable motorists did not pay the due charge. An extra 300 buses (out of a total of around 20,000) were introduced on the same day. Bus and London Underground managers reported that buses and tubes were little, if at all, busier than normal. Initially it was suggested that the reduction in traffic was caused by the half-term school holidays, but this has proved not to be the case. Reports consistently indicate that, over the first month or so of operation, traffic was down at least 15% on pre-charge levels (the first week had a decrease of 20%).

On 23 October 2003 TfL published a report surveying the first six months of the charge. The main findings of the report were that on average the number of cars entering the central zone was 60,000 fewer than the previous year, representing a drop in non-exempt vehicles of 30%. Around 50–60% of this reduction was attributed to transfers to public transport, 20–30% to journeys avoiding the zone, and the remainder to car-sharing, reduced number of journeys, more travelling outside the hours of operation, and increased use of motorbikes and cycles.

Journey times were found to have been reduced by 15%. Variation in journey time for a particular route repeated on many occasions also decreased. The report said that the charge was responsible for only a small fraction of the drop in retail sales. The report also stated that around 100,000 penalty fines are issued in each month. Around 2,000 are appealed against. The larger than anticipated reduction in traffic numbers meant that TfL revenue would be only £68 million, well below the £200 million per year expected by TfL’s first projections in 2001. In practice, once the extensive roadworks undertaken in London during 2001-2002 were lifted in November of that year, TfL found traffic levels had dropped noticeably, and the profit projection was lowered to £130 million per year.

A further report published by TfL in October 2004 stated that only seven of the 13 government aims for London transport would be met by 2010. The target on reducing congestion for Greater London will not be met, the report said. In 2006 the latest report from TfL stated that congestion was down around 26% in comparison with the pre charge period and traffic delays had also been reduced.

It also says that the charge appears to have no impact, either positive or negative, on road safety , the slow trend towards fewer accidents has continued. In comparison, during an experimental Stockholm congestion charge there has seen on average a 25% reduction in congestion.

The impact of the congestion charge on businesses within the capital were a major source of contention. Businesses affected by the charge were vocal critics, because of both the costs imposed by the congestion charge and concerns that visitors to central London would be deterred by the daily charge.

As we can see the current proposals have generated a positive environment for bicycles in London but the next step (SKYCYCLE) is generating very much controversy because of the great expense involved in these times of crisis.

Why it helps us?

Comparing the climatic conditions with Alicante, we can see that London is no better, and however the acceptance of the bike is much greater.

The causes of this is largely due to the City Council to intervened in many of the controversies that appear when it comes to cycling. The main ones are the INSECURITY facing the traffic and thefts, and the ACCESIBILITY and INTERMODALITY. These controversies are reflected in Alicante, and are causes by which people say not to use the bicycle lane.

The way to intervene has been progressive, since many of the measures taken have gone against current lifestyle (congestion charge), but have greatly improved the conditions relating to sustainable transport, mainly people raising and educating them.

Because of this we can say that the measures have achieved the purpose of what it seeks to do Alicante.18



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s