Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by The Traffic Director for London (IT 160)



  1.1 The Traffic Director for London is a non-departmental public body, a corporation sole and an office holder. I was appointed to the position of Traffic Director for London in November 1991.

  1.2 This evidence concentrates on two aspects of integrated transport, road space management and enforcement. The work I have been responsible for as Traffic Director for London has meant that I have direct experience of most of the new road based techniques and measures mentioned in the Integrated Transport White Paper, many of which have been pioneered in London.

  1.3 This evidence which is written from a London perspective contains the following:

    —  an explanation of the historical events which led to the Red Route initiative;

    —  a brief explanation of the relevant legislation and policy documents which set out the framework for the development of Red Routes;

    —  details of various road space management techniques and measures which have been developed in London as part of the Red Route initiative;

    —  details of new technologies to assist in the enforcement of traffic regulations on both Red Routes and other roads in London;

    —  a case study of the implemented Streatham Town Centre Red Route which demonstrates how the use of road space management techniques can improve transport integration.


  2.1 Following the abolition of the Greater London Council in 1986 criticism was voiced at the lack of strategic London-wide policies on transport. In response, the Department of Transport commissioned four Assessment Studies aimed at identifying transport problems and designing proposals for key areas of London. The resultant proposals involved a number of schemes for new high capacity roads in the Capital. Consultation on these proposals produced an extremely hostile public reaction. As a result these road building proposals were abandoned and the Priority "Red" Route concept was developed. The Department of Transport, with local authority assistance, implemented a pilot "Red Route" scheme in north and east London in 1991 to assess the potential of the concept and the various measures. (Ref 1 and 2).

  2.2 The Road Traffic Act 1991 (Ref 3) contains legislation enabling the Secretary of State to designate the 320 mile priority Red Route Network, which he did in 1992. In the same year the Department of Transport, following consultation, published Traffic management and Parking Guidance (Ref 4) which inter alia set out the particular aims for Red Routes and gave guidance on their development.

  2.3 In 1993, after extensive consultation, I published my Network Plan (Ref 5) which sets out detailed objectives, timetables and guidance for those developing the proposals to be implemented as part of each Red Route. These proposals formed "local plans" for each section of Red Route. The local plan as a whole required my approval before it could be implemented.

  2.4 In 1998, again following consultation a new version of Traffic Management and Parking Guidance for London (Ref 6) was issued. This document contains a set of core principles for all those involved in road transport in London:

    —  the management of traffic and road space should be based on the movement of people and goods;

    —  a more strategic approach to parking with the objective of securing a shift to more sustainable transport modes for travel to London's numerous town centres;

    —  a greater emphasis on measures to assist buses, cyclists and pedestrians thereby opening up a wider set of transport choices for all and reducing dependency on the car;

    —  a clearer recognition of the needs of all road users, especially people with disabilities or difficulties with walking;

    —  a clearer recognition that regional and local traffic strategies must be comprehensive and a better awareness of the environmental impacts of traffic in particular the need to reduce greenhouse gases;

    —  greater realism in appreciating what can and cannot be achieved in an acceptable manner within current legislation and with available levels of resources;

    —  better interchange between modes, particularly from bus and car to rail and underground, and from public transport to walking; this must be adequately reflected in the local management of traffic and parking;

    —  more emphasis on the monitoring and assessments of the impacts of programmes; simple, easy to understand, output measures must become more prevalent and influential.

  2.5 In the light of these core principles the aims for Red Routes were revised in order to seek to encourage a shift from the use of the car for personal travel to public transport, walking or cycling. The new aims for red routes are:

    —  to facilitate the movement of people and goods in London—reliably and safely, and with minimum overall environmental impact;

    —  to encourage walking;

    —  to improve conditions for cyclists and contribute to the National Cycling Strategy;

    —  to provide better conditions for people with disabilities;

    —  to provide priority for buses so as to achieve their efficient movement;

    —  to improve the local environment and reduce the impact of congestion;

    —  to contribute to London's targets for reduced traffic accidents and road vehicle emissions;

    —  to support reduced car commuting, especially into or across inner London;

    —  to assist measures to reduce traffic on local roads by providing the first choice for non-local traffic, consistent with achieving the other aims for Red Routes.

  2.6 After consideration of the revised aims for Red Routes contained in the new Traffic Management and Parking Guidance for London, I consulted upon, then published, Revisions to the Network Plan (Ref 7) in October 1998. This document contains both the revised aims for Red Routes detailed above and the following set of revised objectives:

    (1)  To implement the Priority (Red) Route Network designated by the Secretary of State under section 50 of the Road Traffic Act 1991 so that:

    —  by 22 December 2000 Priority (Red) Route traffic management controls are operational across the entire network; and

    —  by 21 December 2001 all Priority (Red) Route features on the main road are installed.

    (2)  To support the revised aims for Red Routes by achieving on those sections of the Priority (Red) Route Network installed after 1 April 1998:

    —  for stage bus services at least a 10 per cent improvement in average journey times with at least a 40 per cent improvement in the reliability of journey times, so that the travel rate for 90 per cent of peak period services is better than 5.0 minutes per route kilometre and for 90 per cent of inter peak services is better than 4.5 minutes per route kilometre;

    —  for other vehicular traffic at least at 10 per cent improvement in average journey times and at least a 33 per cent improvement in the reliability of journey times (in order to facilitate the movement of goods);

    —  better conditions for people with disabilities by introducing at least 480 parking boxes reserved for Orange Badge holders and by introducing tactile paving and tactile controls at all new traffic signal pedestrian controlled facilities installed;

    —  improved road safety through at least a 17 per cent reduction in injury accidents on Red Routes reported to the Police—this objective to be assessed over the period three years prior to the installation of Red Route controls and three years after the completed installation of Red Route controls to take account of injury accidents reported on the adjacent road network.

    (3)  To support the revised aims for Red Routes by achieving across the whole of the Priority (Red) Route Network:

    —  the improved effectiveness of traffic and parking controls through regulatory measures at all bus stops to prohibit stopping at all times; and, in accordance with the Service Level Agreement with the Metropolitan Police Service, at least 95 per cent compliance with stationary vehicle regulations;

    —  better conditions for pedestrians so that in "town centre" locations there is at least a 30 per cent increase in pedestrians who perceive it to be "easy" to cross the main carriageway; at least 500 new traffic signal controlled pedestrian crossing points; and at least 1,200 locations with measures to assist pedestrians to cross side roads;

    —  better conditions for pedal cyclists through the provision of at least 200 new traffic signal controlled crossing facilities;

    —  better understanding of the contribution of Red Route measures to improved air quality and reduced CO2 emissions through regular measurements of traffic conditions across the network.

    (4)  On the sections of the Priority (Red) Route Network installed prior to 1 April 1998 to secure the objectives for journey time, journey time reliability and road safety as previously set by the Secretary of State.

    (5)  To progress implementation according to available resources of a London-wide programme of bus lane cameras and manage their operation.

    (6)  To operate within the financial limits and regulations set by the Secretary of State.


  3.1 The importance of road space management to an integrated transport strategy is outlined in the Government's White Paper on the future of transport A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone (Ref 8). Chapter 3 of that document deals with the improvement of the environment in urban areas via the management of road space, an approach I entirely endorse and the importance of which I strongly support. A table on page 59 (reproduced in annex A) outlines some of the most important mechanisms for achieving road space management.

  3.2 Most of these road space management techniques have been deployed in London either on Red Routes or elsewhere, and I set out below some examples of their use.

Bus Priority

  3.2.1 Buses have a key role to play in any integrated transport policy which seeks to reduce car dependency in urban areas. Historically buses not only had a greater share of the journeys undertaken but also carried more passengers for longer distances than they do at present. The decline of the bus as a mode of transport can be linked with increased unreliability largely due to increased congestion as a result of increased car use. To enable the bus to fulfil its potential in an integrated transport system we must reduce its unreliability and journey times compared to other traffic.

  3.2.2 There are a number of traffic management techniques which can give buses priority and improve their reliability:

    (i)  Of paramount importance is to ensure that the buses can always reach the kerb side at bus stops. This requires the stops to be well laid out, clear of other vehicles and to be in the "right" place for interchange with other modes of transport and be convenient for pedestrians crossing the road.

    (ii)  Bus lanes on the approach to traffic signal junctions ensure that the bus gets to the front of the queue and through the junction at the first available green signal. The bus lane is however traditionally stopped sufficiently short of the junction so that the general traffic remains unaffected in terms of journey time through the junction.

    (iii)  The contra flow bus lane by-passes a one-way system such as in Piccadilly. A recently introduced Red Route example along Clapham Common North side is producing journey time savings for buses in excess of four minutes in the peak hours.

    (iv)  Current traffic signal technology provides in many cases the opportunity via Selective Vehicle Detection (SVD) to change signals to green as a bus approaches with consequential improvements in journey times and their reliability.

    (v)  Bus pre-signals or bus advance areas are more recent innovations which provide buses with priority where traditional techniques would be difficult to implement.

  3.2.3 A bus pre-signal scheme was introduced on the A1 Red Route at Upper Street/Islington High Street in December 1997; where 1,350 people travel southbound in 45 buses per hour while 1,000 people per hour pass through the junction in 840 other vehicles, mainly cars. The buses at peak times previously suffered severe delays caused by traffic congestion. The integrated transport solution was to redesign the junction to include improvements for pedestrians bringing their crossing point closer to the Angel Underground Station and for the southbound approach to include a double width bus lane and dedicated traffic signals which enables buses and cyclists to pass other traffic held at the signals. The diagram at annex B shows the scheme layout. "Before" and "after" traffic surveys have been carried out which reveal the following journey time savings:

    70 seconds per bus in the morning peak period;

    88 seconds per bus in the off peak periods;

    97 seconds per bus in the evening peak period.

  Using current cost benefit analysis values the scheme will save £440,000 per annum and pay for itself in six months.

Traffic Calming

  3.2.4 In urban areas the suppressed demand for travel by car means that without traffic calming on local roads adjacent to strategic roads changes in main road conditions, including those to improve integrated transport, can result in unacceptable car use on local roads. Traffic calming measures have therefore been implemented extensively along the Red Routes corridors.

  3.2.5 At the junctions with side roads to date over 450 "side road entry treatments" have been implemented. A report Justification and Design of Entry Treatments—An Assessment Study (Ref 9) describes the criteria and details the principles of their design. These measures assist pedestrians walking along footways of the Red Routes and slow traffic leaving the Red Route and entering a minor road.

  3.2.6 Other measures such as road humps have been provided in side roads adjacent to Red Routes, in order to encourage through traffic back on to the main road. In general these have been concentrated on side roads close to Red Routes where there was a desire to encourage traffic back on to the main road. During the development of Red Route local plans it has become apparent that the introduction of road humps ("sleeping policeman") is no longer the panacea of traffic calming. These causes difficulties for buses and emergency service vehicles which can be overcome by the use of carefully designed speed cushions. This is now more relevant since the wider introduction of mini/midi buses which are able to access residential areas on minor roads.

  3.2.7 Traffic calming measures deployed on Red Routes have included coloured marginal road surface strips introduced on the outside edge of lay-bys to encourage drivers to park well inside the box. The strips can also be used to assist passengers disembarking from foreign coaches on the offside (i.e., into the carriageway) in potential conflict with passing traffic. An example has been introduced on the Marylebone Road outside Madame Tussauds.

Priority Routes

  3.2.8 The Red Route network is perhaps the classic example of the development of a priority route network, which provides the framework for the application of road space management policies. I believe the objectives for Red Routes and the approach adopted in the Network Plan and Revisions to the Network Plan represent the essential elements of transport integration dealing as they do with buses, cyclists, pedestrians, access to public transport (bus stops and railway stations) and the efficient movement of goods.

  3.2.9 Other priority networks under development in London include the London Bus Priority Network and the London Cycle Network. These two initiatives are being developed as package schemes by the London local authorities. Clearly it is essential that an integrated approach is adopted in the development of these networks and that they are themselves integrated with each other and the rest of the transport system including Red Routes. Doing this will, in my view, be an important role for London's new Mayor. (Ref 10).

  3.2.10 The Revisions to the Network Plan also encourages the development of walking routes. Not only is walking the most environmentally friendly means of transport it also forms at least part of every journey. On Red Routes I am seeking to reduce the barriers to walking created by main roads as well as improve conditions for walking along these roads.

Urban Traffic Control

  3.2.11 In urban areas traffic signals are central to the development and successful operation of an integrated system for road-based transport. The co-ordination of signal settings can be used to manage the movement of buses, cars, goods vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. In London a programme to improve the technology controlling traffic signal installations on Red Routes was completed earlier this year. The programme has accelerated the introduction of two methods of computer signal control introduced at 270 sites across London (see Map at annex C). The two methods of computer control, Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique (SCOOT) and Microprocessor Optimised Vehicle Actuation (MOVA), allow improved co-ordination and operation of traffic signal installations, including making them more responsible to local prevailing conditions.

  3.2.12 This work has led to the formation of an Urban Traffic Management and Control (UTMC) steering group which is considering more flexible methods of controlling road networks in order to meet changing priorities. There are a number of policy initiatives that UTMC systems can be deployed to support. These include:

    —  managing demand and congestion more efficiently;

    —  influencing model choice, route choice and when journeys are made;

    —  improving priority for buses and other public services vehicles;

    —  providing better and safer facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users;

    —  reducing vehicle emissions;

    —  traffic restraint; and

    —  improving safety.

  The table at annex D indicates the functions, and gives examples, for which a UTMC system can be used.

Driver Information

  3.2.13 Substantial inefficiencies are introduced and resources wasted in the transport system because drivers do not use the best routes or misread/misunderstand directional or regulatory signing. The Government's programme of resigning the directional signs on the Primary Routes of London should reduce this problem. The review of the traffic regulations and a new more intelligible signing system for the Red Route controls is also improving drivers comprehension and compliance.

  3.2.14 The Revision to the Network Plan include the possibility for the use of smaller sized Red Route signs. This should reduce any environmental intrusion without, it is believed, reducing legibility or compliance with the controls. This change in the detailed specification of the signs is taking place now that drivers have become more familiar with the Red Route signs and their meaning.


  3.2.15 The management of parking is central to the success of any integrated transport policy which seeks to reduce car dependency. Drivers need to be able to park their vehicles at the end of their journey. If these spaces are removed, relocated, charged for or limited in time, driver behaviour can be expected to change. Thus parking management is a key lever affecting transport integration.

  3.2.16 The proper management of on-street parking is particularly important to ensure the efficient operation of the bus services (see above) and the safe and efficient use of the road network. It can also enable income streams to be raised to fund enforcement and improvement projects and programmes to enhance transport integration.

  3.2.17 The Red Route experience is clear that a complete review of the existing "blanket" yellow line waiting and loading restrictions with proper enforcement can produce very substantial benefits including improving bus journey times and reliability, reducing road accident casualties and assisting with the more efficient delivery of goods.

No Car Lanes/High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes

  3.2.18 The introduction of "No Car" of "High Occupancy Vehicle" (HOV) lanes represent clear examples of road space management. The first ever "No Car Lane" on the London Strategic Road Network was introduced earlier this year on the Nine Elms Lane Red Route in Battersea. The north bound lane is on the approach to the Vauxhall Cross intersection and can be used by buses, goods vehicles (over 3.5T), taxis and cyclists. The lane was developed as the low number of buses using the road did not justify a traditional bus lane.

  3.2.19 Enforcing HOV lanes, except by Police officers, remains a problem. This may not be the case for "No Car Lanes" where cameras can also be used. "No car lanes" also have the added advantage of providing priority for the delivery of goods although care must be taken that the number of goods vehicles do not create problems for the other priority vehicles (buses, coaches, etc.).


  4.1 This Case Study extracted from my 1997-98 Annual Report shows how road space management can deliver improvements to the integration of transport.

  4.2 Streatham High Road and Streatham Hill form part of the A23, the major north/south route in south London. The Red Route is providing a £1.5 million revitalisation package for the A23 through Streatham town centre which will help improve the local environment. A comprehensive approach has been adopted to ensure all visitors to the town centre gain and implementation is almost complete. Congestion in Streatham town centre has long been a problem, causing delays for up to 134 buses an hour using the main road. Special attention has therefore been given to the needs of buses along this route and to improving conditions for bus passengers once they leave the bus and become pedestrians.

  4.3 An existing northbound bus lane approaching Streatham station previously operated only from 7 am to 10 am. It is being converted to 24 hour operation and doubled in width to overcome the problem of buses at stops delaying following bus services. Bus stops have also been reorganised to bring them closer to the station, ice rink and swimming baths. Two new bus lanes at Greyhound Lane (110m) and Tierney Road (60m) are being introduced. All bus stops throughout this section of road have been protected by the standard Red Route ban on stoping to make sure buses can always reach their stops.

  4.4 Improvements for pedestrians include an increase of more than 50 per cent in the number of signalled crossing bringing the total to 11 in 2km. The signals are all computer controlled to minimise disruption to traffic while providing significant improvements for pedestrians crossing this busy road. New "green man" crossings are being installed at Kingscourt Avenue, Tierney Road, St Leonard's junction and Gleneagle Road. The carriageway has been narrowed at a further two existing crossings to make it easier and safer for pedestrians. All existing "green man" crossings are being upgraded to include red surfacing of the crossing area which increases driver and pedestrian awareness.

  4.5 At 32 side road junctions work is being carried out to make crossing easier for pedestrians. Raised carriageways create continuous footways for pedestrians and slow down vehicles turning off the main road. [i.e., side road entry treatments].

  4.6 Improvements are being delivered for cyclists on the London Cycle Network crossing the A23 at Becmead Avenue/Pendennis Road. There are mandatory cycle lanes on both sides of the junction and cycle advance areas. Key locations such as cinemas, stations and Streatham Baths in the town centre are being fitted with purpose-built cycle stands.

  4.7 For those shoppers arriving in the town centre by car, 250 free short-term parking spaces have been provided on the main road and in adjacent side roads. A further 200 spaces have been reserved for loading and parking by Orange Badge Holders for up to three hours. Much of this is provided on the main road between kerb build-outs which will prevent dangerous parking at junctions and effectively narrow the northbound dual carriageway section of the A23 by one lane. As much of the southbound carriage way already has bus lanes, this will prevent any significant increase in traffic volumes through this inner London town centre.

  4.8 The Red Route package is also helping to improve the Streatham street scene. Landscaping works outside Streatham Station include new paving, widening the footway and new street trees. In all 40 new trees have been planted in Streatham.

  4.9 Improvements have also been made at the Greyhound Lane junction. A heavily used "rat run" (over 250 vehicles an hour) in Streatham Road/Natal Road which bypasses the traffic signals at Greyhound Lane has been agreed for closure. Further traffic calming measures are being introduced to tackle similar problems in other residential areas.

  4.10 Further case studies can be found in my Annual Reports which also contain examples of good practice for the priority topics of buses, pedestrians and cyclists.


  5.1 Good enforcement is the key to ensuring the success of the vast majority of road space management initiatives. The Metropolitan Police are responsible for the enforcement of Red Routes. A close partnership therefore has been wrought between by organisation and the Metropolitan Police. This is now underpinned by a Service Level Agreement (SLA) signed by both organisations aimed at improving and giving consistency to enforcement of stopping, parking and loading regulations by the Metropolitan Police Traffic Warden Service (TWS). The SLA is understood to be the first such agreement between the Metropolitan Police and an external organisation.

  5.2 The SLA is intended to monitor the effectiveness of the TWS in enforcing the Red Route regulations. This is achieved by measuring "non compliance" with the Red Route regulations. Performance indicators (PI) and targets have been agreed as part of the SLA. The PI are total observed offences per mile. The following targets have been agreed.

Red Line Compliance
High enforcement areas1.2 observed offences per mile
Medium and low enforcement areas0.8 observed offences per mile
Parking and loading box compliance95 per cent compliance

  The table at annex E indicates the High, medium and Low enforcement areas.

  5.3 The use of cameras to assist in the enforcement of traffic regulations has also been a feature of the Red Route initiative. Speed and red light cameras have been deployed across the network where problems of either speeding or red light jumping have been identified. On the Red Route trunk roads over 100 cameras have been introduced. Further cameras are being introduced on Red Route local roads.

  5.4 The most innovative use of camera technology has been for bus lane enforcement. At the request of the Secretary of State, and with the co-operation of the Metropolitan Police, I have managed a project to develop and introduce video cameras to detect vehicles which illegally use bus lanes. This illegal use jeopardises the advantage that bus lanes give to buses and consequently reduces the attractiveness of the bus as a means of travel. Enforcement of bus lane offences is not, however, high on the Metropolitan Police's list of priorities.

  5.5 We tested the use of cameras for bus lane enforcement on a pilot project in north London in 1995. The project proved that it was feasible to use both mobile bus mounted and static roadside cameras for bus lane enforcement for both moving and stationary vehicles offences. Subsequently both types of camera systems have been developed and "type approved" by the Home Secretary to provide evidence which can be accepted by the courts. The camera systems use unattended video cameras to record offences. The tapes are subsequently assessed by my civilian staff and viewed by a police officer who decides whether an offence has been committed and agrees the issue of a Notice of Intended Prosecution. Subsequent handling of the administrative process is undertaken by the Metropolitan Police Central Ticket Office and the Magistrates Courts Service Fixed Penalty Office.

  5.6 Following the pilot project, bus lane camera systems have been deployed in a larger area of north London. (Ref 11). This further confirmed the suitability of this technology and I reported on the outcome of the project to the Secretary of State for Transport and the Home Secretary in March 1998.

  5.7 The Secretary of State for Transport has subsequently given me a direction for London-wide implementation. The first stage of the London-wide implementation programme was launched in November 1998 with full London-wide coverage planned, subject to resources, for completion in 2003. A plan outlining the implementation programme is attached at annex F.

  5.8 Research commissioned by me as part of the bus lane enforcement camera project indicates that around 10 per cent of drivers who currently use bus lanes illegally, would not do so if the current fixed penalty fine of £20 were typically doubled. I believe that the Home Office, as part of a wider consultative exercise on traffic penalty, will be consulting on this issue in the New Year.

  5.9 The Bus Lane Camera Project has successfully demonstrated the use of cameras to enforce bus lanes. The two video camera systems could however be used to provide enforcement to serve other policy goals:

    (i)  They could be used to enforce schemes which remove capacity for general traffic. For example, if a bus lane is extended right up to a traffic signal junction stopline, thereby probably halving the capacity of the junction, infringements of the bus lane are likely to increase. Road side video cameras could be used for enforcement at these locations.

    (ii)  Bus or other vehicle mounted video cameras could be used to enforce stationary vehicle offences on all roads not just in bus lanes.


  6.1 Road space management has a vital role to play in delivering integrated transport especially in urban areas. The Red Route initiative continues to demonstrate what can be done. The establishment of a GLA should enable transport integration in London to extend beyond that which we are currently achieving in the main road corridors.

  6.2 Road space management requires priority to be given to the provision of adequate enforcement. This is becoming increasingly the case as more sophisticated and radical techniques of road space management are developed and introduced. I can only foresee an increase in the use of camera technology in this field.

Derek Turner

November 1998


1 Traffic in London: A discussion document on initiatives to tackle the problems, Department of Transport HMSO. 1998.
2 Assessment of the Pilot Priority (Red) Route in London, Transport Research Laboratory, Transport Research Laboratory 1993.
3 Road Traffic Act 1991, HMSO 1991.
4 Traffic Management and Parking Guidance, Department of Transport. HMSO 1992.
5 Network Plan, Traffic Director for London. Traffic Director for London 1993.
6 Traffic Management and Parking Guidance for London, Government Office for London. Government Office for London 1998.
7 Revision to the Network Plan, Traffic Director for London. Traffic Director for London 1998.
8 A New Deal for Transport: Better for Everyone, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. The Stationery Office 1998.
9 A Mayor and Assembly for London: The Government's proposals for modernising the governance of London, Department of the Government Transport and the Regions. The Stationery Office.
10 The Bus Lane Enforcement Camera Project—The London Area Scheme, Traffic Director for London. Traffic Director for London 1998.

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