London transport has come a long way since its inception as the Metropolitan Railway back in 1863. While that part of the London underground has evolved into part of the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines as we know them now, the city’s transport system has undergone much more extensive development. Now, the London Underground is the world’s 11th busiest metro system carrying approximately 4.8 million passengers a day. Beyond the Underground, London is home to an extensive bus network (on both roads and rivers), a vast number of National Rail lines and the Santander Cycle Scheme, without even mentioning the developments of Crossrail, Crossrail 2 and The Bakerloo line Extension.
As London is poised to be home to 11 million residents by 2050, how will the city keep up with that growth? Will improving and developing transport links beyond London mean that people are able to commute into the city cheaper and faster? And what does that mean for businesses keen to attract the very best upcoming talent?
London Mayor Sadiq Khan outlined his extensive plans for improving London’s transport systems in a 300+ page document earlier this year. In the document, Khan committed to ploughing ahead with Crossrail 2 and plans to tube line extensions whilst also reaffirming his commitment to increasing the number of journeys made by walking, cycling and public transport to 80% by 2041. Khan has also pledged affordable public transport for all, with a focus on developing London’s economic growth and creating a fairer, greener and healthier city.
London.gov.uk reported: “The Mayor’s Transport Strategy will act as the backbone of transport planning across London. It includes record investment in new and improved rail, tube and bus services, an unprecedented focus on walking and cycling, and a commitment to make the entire transport system zero-emission by 2050.”
One of the biggest developments outlined in the mayors plans is the furthering of Crossrail2. The new rail line aims to relieve pressure on the somewhat strained transport network across the south of England, enabling an estimate of 270,000 more people to travel into and across central London every morning at peak time. The development is also expected to drive the development of 200,000 homes and 200,000 new jobs across the south east.
The benefits of this for Midtown businesses are manyfold – as big tech companies and other businesses that have chosen the area as their home strengthen their focus on attracting the best millennial talent, opening up the South of England with this kind of access to the city increases the talent pool exponentially. The introduction of Crossrail 2 to Tottenham Court Road will increase access to Midtown dramatically, making it one of the best connected areas in the city, which will in turn make it a more desirable location for businesses looking to move into London.
Earlier this year, The Financial Times highlighted how important the transport system is for the capital’s future as a world leader in business, economics, the financial sector and much more: “London requires a joined-up strategy above and below ground to encourage people to come back to public transport. If the population continues to rise, and London wishes to remain one of the pre-eminent global cities, politicians and civic leaders must ensure its transport system is on the right track.”
As TFL’s transport systems continue to evolve and develop, London is opening up well beyond the city boundaries, allowing an interconnectivity across the south of the country like never before. It’s an exciting time for all those who live and work in the area but demands and expectations of Sadiq Khan and his administration remain high. If London wishes to retain it’s Megacity status, the transport system is at the epicentre of opportunities for growth, and that responsibility must not be understated.
Want to find out more about how transport will affect London and beyond? We’re discussing London as a Place to Live at next week’s Midtown Big Ideas Exchange. Join the conversation on 14th March from 6.30pm at wallacespace Clerkenwell and share your views on how these issues will impact those at the heart of the Midtown community. Register now for your free tickets.