London's traffic is going to get slower with speeds set to slow to 6mph by 2030, warns former government transport adviser

Rebecca Smith
It could be worse - no, really
It could be worse - no, really (Source: Getty)

Brace yourselves, Londoners.

For traffic speeds are set to get even slower, according to new analysis by Professor David Begg, former chair of the government's commission for integrated transport for sustainable transport organisation Greener Journeys.

Read more: Commuters face Blackfriars Bridge gridlock as new barriers cause havoc

Congestion across the UK's largest cities is 14 per cent worse than five years ago, and in London, average traffic speeds are expected to fall from 8.4 to 6mph by 2030 - and slower still in peak hours, as road delays build. Begg warns that if congestion isn't tackled effectively, "urban traffic speeds will continue to fall until they reach walking pace".

He added that congestion charging needs to be redesigned and extended to help ease London's busy roads.

This could have a knock-on hit on air quality, with the research saying in gridlocked traffic tailpipe emissions are four times greater than they are in free flow traffic.

A fall in average morning peak traffic speeds from 10mph to 7.5mph in the capital over the past decade has caused emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides from diesel cars and vans to rise by 10 per cent, and 25 per cent and 27 per cent from buses and trucks respectively.

Read more: A long-awaited electric car sharing scheme is rolling out across London

London mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a range of measures he intends to bring in to help improve air quality in the capital, including the emissions surcharge starting this October, as well as the introduction of an ultra low emission zone for all vehicles in 2019, along with the rollout of 12 low emission bus zones.

Professor Begg said:

Our report shows that improving air quality is not just about cleaning up the fleet, it is also about reducing traffic congestion.

That is why when the mayor publishes his transport strategy next week it is crucial that he looks at ways in which congestion charging can be redesigned and extended to reduce the gridlock on London’s roads.

The congestion problem is not going to go away on its own.

Read more: Ditch the congestion charge for road pricing, London Assembly tells mayor

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