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New TfL data shows sustained increases in walking and cycling in the capital

TfL has published new data from its Travel in London report, which shows trends in travel during 2022 and 2023

  • The data shows the number of daily cycle journeys increased to 1.26 million in 2023, up by 6.3 per cent since 2022 [1] 
  • 24 per cent of Londoners report having cycled in the last year, up from 21 per cent in 2019/20[2]  
  • Investment in London's cycle network is enabling more people to cycle, with the strategic cycle network now 352km long, up from 90km in 2016 

Transport for London (TfL) has published new data from its annual Travel in London report, which shows that there have been continued increases in the levels of walking and cycling in London. Enabling more people to walk and cycle, including as part of journeys that also involve public transport, is vital to a sustainable transport network in the capital and TfL has continued to work closely with London's boroughs to invest in high-quality infrastructure that allows more people to walk and cycle more often.

The new data shows that the number of daily cycle journeys increased in 2023 to hit an estimated 1.26 million journeys per day, up by 6.3 per cent from 1.19 million in 2022, and up by 20 per cent since 2019. [3] This represents a level of growth not seen in the years leading up to the pandemic and suggests that Londoners are continuing to make the most of cycling as a sustainable and affordable way of travelling around the capital. While central London has seen a smaller level of growth (1.7 per cent) reflecting hybrid working and less commuter cycling, both inner and outer London have seen strong increases of 8.2 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively compared to 2022 levels. Separate data from the report shows that in the financial year 2022/23, the percentage of all journeys made by cycling reached 4.5 per cent, a significant increase compared to the pre-pandemic level of 3.6 per cent in 2019/20.

New data also shows that the proportion of Londoners who have cycled in the past year has increased, including increases among people from Black, Asian other minority ethnic groups. In the financial year 2022/23, 24 per cent of Londoners reported having cycled in the past year, up from 21 per cent in 2019/20. This includes increases among all ethnic groups, including Black people (12 per cent in 2019/20 to 15 per cent in 2022/23) and Asian people (11 per cent in 2019/20 to 15 per cent in 2022/23). [4]  However, in relation to the sociodemographic profile of all London residents there is still under-representation on many of these groups which is why earlier this year, TfL set out its vision for making cycling more representative of London's diverse communities through its Cycling Action Plan 2. This outlined ambitious evidence-led measures to support underrepresented groups by addressing the barriers they face. This includes investment through the annual Walking and Cycling Grants London programme, with groups awarded funding every year to boost participation among underrepresented groups from a wide range of backgrounds and ages.

Walking also continues to be central to how many people travel in London, with levels increasing in 2022/23. New data from the Travel in London report shows that walking accounts for 39 per cent of all trips by London residents. Overall trip rates have increased from 0.66 trips per person per day on average in 2017/18 to 0.80 in 2019/20 and 0.84 in 2022/23. [5] 

The new statistics show the benefits of investing in high-quality walking and cycling infrastructure, with the cycle network now at 352km, up from 90km in 2016. TfL will continue working closely with London's boroughs to deliver even more walking and cycling infrastructure in the coming years.

There has been a steady increase over time, particularly since the pandemic, on the proportion of trips done for leisure. It comes after TfL last year published the capital's first plan to boost the level of walking for leisure. The Leisure Walking action plan aims to enhance and expand leisure walking routes and better connect London's communities with green spaces, building on increases in leisure walking seen since the pandemic. 

The plan is helping to ensure London's streets are accessible and inclusive for the diverse range of people who live, work, and visit the capital. Since the pandemic, walking for leisure has become the top reason for Londoners walking more.

London's Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said:

'I'm delighted to see the increase in cycling and walking journeys in London continue for yet another year. The Mayor and I are committed to boosting this further. We will continue to expand the network of cycleways and make more junctions and crossings safer. We're determined to build a cleaner, greener and more prosperous London for everyone, and investing in sustainable transport options is a vital part of that.'

Alex Williams, Chief Customer and Strategy Officer, said:

'Walking and cycling are absolutely essential to a more sustainable future for London so it's very encouraging to see this new data, which shows that there continues to be significant increases in the number of journeys cycled or on foot. We are extremely proud of our work on expanding the cycle network throughout London from 90km to 352km and are continuously increasing this number.

'We're determined to ensure that the way people travel in London is healthy, sustainable and affordable, which is why we will keep working closely with boroughs to transform our roads and invest in our transport network, enabling even more people to choose to make their journeys by walking, cycling and using public transport.'

Stephen Edwards, Chief Executive of Living Streets, said:

'This data shows that investing in our streets to make them better for people walking and wheeling pays off. Creating safer, more pleasant streets makes it easier for people to choose to walk their short journeys. We need to build on these results and continue to make London a great city for walking, so we can all reap the benefits of cleaner air and safer streets.'

Mariam Draaijer, Chief Executive of JoyRiders, said:

'At JoyRiders, our aim is to get women, especially from ethnic minorities and deprived communities, to take up cycling. In recent years we have seen an increase in women cycling and this uptake is stronger in areas with more cycling infrastructure such as areas in Waltham Forest or Hackney. Women should feel safe when cycling and are more likely to do so if they have good infrastructure or can avoid busier main roads. 

'Having safe and high-quality infrastructure makes it more likely that women can confidently cycle on London roads seeing it as a real alternative to other transport methods such as cars or public transport. With more infrastructure to come and the support of community groups such as JoyRiders that help women and other Londoners to start riding a bike, cycling is becoming the transport of choice as it's not just affordable, but also great for physical and mental wellbeing.'

TfL and boroughs continue to expand London's strategic cycle network at pace, with 24 per cent of Londoners now living within 400m of the network, up from 5 per cent in 2016. Construction works continue on Cycleway 50, Cycleway 23 and Cycleway 4, with many more routes being developed in partnership with boroughs.   

At Old Street, protected cycle lanes around the former roundabout are now complete, enabling people to travel through this busy junction safely and confidently. Work continues to complete the scheme by early next year. TfL and Southwark Council are also continuing work to complete Cycleway 4, a major high-quality Cycleway which will connect central London, Greenwich and beyond once complete.  

The Travel In London 2023 Annual Overview is available to download via the TfL Board Papers here: https://board.tfl.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=138&MId=768&Ver=4

Notes to editors:

Data on mode shares is below: 

Trip-based mode shares by type of transport, 2000 and 2013-2022.  

Year Public transport Private transport Cycle Walk 
(2000) (27%) (48%) (1.2%) (24%)
2013 36% 38% 1.9% 24%
2014 36% 38% 2.1% 24%
2015 35% 37% 3.7% 24%
2016 35% 37% 3.6% 24%
2017 35% 37% 3.7% 24%
2018 35% 37% 3.7% 25%
2019 35% 36% 3.6% 25%
2020 22% 39% 6.1% 33%
2021 23% 42% 4.0% 31%
2022 31% 38% 4.5% 27%

[1] Travel in London p. 21 figure 12

[2]  Travel in London p. 24 figure 15

[3] Travel in London p. 21 figure 12

[4] Travel in London p. 24, figure 15

[5] Travel in London p. 25, figure 16

Channel website: https://tfl.gov.uk/

Original article link: https://tfl.gov.uk/info-for/media/press-releases/2023/december/new-tfl-data-shows-sustained-increases-in-walking-and-cycling-in-the-capital

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