New research has highlighted that traffic delays due to congestion on London’s A-roads have increased by an average of 20% since January 2020.
Inner London boroughs, some of which have seen the introduction of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), appear to have been hit the hardest, according to the real-time analysis available for download here.
The research was carried out by Huq Industries, an alternative data research business. Huq’s extensive dataset of real-time population mobility data, comprised of 1bn+ mobile geo-location data-points daily, is used by retailers, investors and the public sector to measure footfall across a range of consumer, business and industrial settings.
It found that the top five boroughs for increased road delays in the capital are currently Southwark (seeing a 28.4% rise since Q1 2020), Lambeth (27.2%), Merton (25.4%), The City (24.9%) and Islington (23.9%).
In addition, parts of London with recent – and in some cases controversial – cycle lanes are also seeing a rise in congestion:
- The A3 from London Bridge to Elephant & Castle has seen traffic delays rise by 29% from Q1 2020 to Q1 2021
- Euston Road has seen a 27% increase in delays over the equivalent period
- Park Lane has seen a 21% increase
- Chiswick High Road (part of TfL’s Cycleway 9) has seen a 14% rise in delays.
Some roads, however, have seen decreases in traffic since Q1 2020. The A4 on the Hammersmith flyover, for example, has seen traffic fall by more than a third (34%), possibly because nearby Hammersmith Bridge is currently closed to all traffic.
Conrad Poulson, chief executive officer at Huq Industries, comments: “The research suggests that the timing of LTNs and similar measures may be doing more harm than good, as there has been an increase in traffic congestion in London to the point that it’s worse now than before the pandemic.
“Many people now favour their car over using public transport for their essential journeys, as it provides peace of mind in a secure, single-occupant environment. If certain roads are closed to vehicles, it simply means people are finding alternative routes and causing greater congestion.
“Traffic isn’t simply evaporating because there are fewer places for it to go. That’s why it’s more important than ever for councils to fully evaluate traffic flows and driver behaviours in order to introduce initiatives that succeed in reducing car usage.”