Thursday, 9th June 2016

Brown Bag Breakfast (BBB) recap: TfL’s Chris Porter on sustainable growth through transport investment

May’s first Brown Bag Breakfast (BBB) saw Chris Porter, Transport Planning Manager at TfL, discuss how the organisation is working to facilitate growth in London through investment in transport. Chris works on a number of planned and proposed major transport projects across London including: the Bakerloo line extension, the Barking Riverside extension of the London Overground and a number of possible road tunnels on London’s key road corridors.

Chris kicked off the session by detailing the population growth London has experienced over the last 25 years and how this has affected the transport network. It is estimated that if growth continues at this rate, rail based commutes in and around London will increase by 70-100% by 2040. Such rapid population growth will also continue to put strain on housing, as more and more people flock to London and the surrounding areas for work (London is already one of the most productive world cities). As Chris put it in his presentation:

“Rapid job creation has driven population growth but undersupply of housing is a threat to future growth”

TfL is both planning for, and working to enable this forecasted growth by enhancing their network. These plans are already underway with the construction of Crossrail, Bank station upgrade and the Northern line extension, the consultation on Crossrail 2 and  proposals for the Bakerloo Line extension and the development of Old Oak Common around new rail infrastructure as provided by HS2, Crossrail and the London Overground.

Chris talked through all of the ways transport can enable growth in London:

Utilising TfL and public land

TfL is one of London’s largest landowners with over 5,700 acres of land close to a type of transport station (bus/tube/rail, etc.). TfL are now working closely with the Greater London Authority and London Boroughs on local and regional planning policy and all major planning applications to ensure land is utilised to its full potential.

Chris Porter BBB supporting image

Image source: provided by Chris Porter at TfL, data sourced from GLA Land and Property database, Ordinance Survey

They are working with the London Land Commission (LLC) to identify and coordinate the delivery of sites owned by different public sector bodies into a brownfield land register.

Focussing on key Growth Areas

The London Plan, the spatial development strategy for London has identified 38 Opportunity Areas across the city which together have the capacity to hold  300,000 homes.

Some of these areas, such as Barking Riverside, a key part of the London Riverside Opportunity Area have so far failed to deliver new homes and jobs due to poor transport links. However with the provision of the London Overground extension, Barking Riverside will be able to deliver over 10,000 homes and a new transport line to support the population growth; allowing residents fast and convenient transport to key stations in London.

Densification along existing rail corridors

Locations such as Croydon, Lewisham and Barking offer high capacity rail connectivity and as a result are  able to support high density development. However, many other areas across London, whilst well connected are not able to deliver jobs and housing without capacity improvements to their rail services. One way TfL is trying to address this issue is the Rail Prospectus – a proposal that would mean TfL would have control of suburban services.

New ‘transformative’ Infrastructure

The TfL Growth Fund is unlocking growth through new infrastructure. One example is Elephant and Castle, which is set to include the following features:

  • Subways replaced with new pedestrian crossings
  • New dedicated cycle routes created through and around the junction
  • Large new public space, improving access from street level, supporting regeneration.
  • New 20mph speed limit

These changes have been implemented to reduce congestion, as well as to unlock public space.

New Infrastructure

Chris touched upon new London infrastructure projects:

  • Northern Line Extension: the addition of 2 new stations to the southern end of the line will enable over 15,000 homes and 25,000 new jobs, as well as improved accessibility to central London.
  • Crossrail will connect Reading in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east, passing through key stations in central London. Adding 10% to London’s rail capacity and a reduction in journey times.
  • Dubbed the “Canary Wharf of the west”, Old Oak Common and Park Royal spans 3 boroughs and will house a HS2/Crossrail hub, as well as provide 25,000 new homes and 5500 new jobs.

Chris concluded with an emphasis on developing TfL’s new business plan for mid to long term infrastructure needs. London’s success as a global city depends on its ability to house and provide a good quality of life for a growing workforce.

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Article by Lheah Zorlakkis (Business Development and Marketing Administrator)