|Casualty statistics have been published that show, while progress is being made, the capital has also seen a return to near pre-pandemic levels of the number of people killed and seriously injured on London’s roads. The devastating consequences for the families, friends and communities impacted by these deaths and life-changing injuries is immense and collective action is needed to achieve the Mayor’s Vision Zero goal of eliminating death and serious injury from London’s streets by 2041. Transport for London (TfL) is working closely with London’s boroughs, the police and other partners to carry out the work needed to achieve this goal.
Last year was the lowest year on record for fatalities, with 101 people tragically killed on London’s roads, excluding 2020 and 2021 which were heavily affected by pandemic related lockdowns and changes in travel patterns. There has been significant progress made against the Mayor’s Transport Strategy baseline of 2005-09. The number of people killed and seriously injured on London’s roads has reduced overall by 38 per cent against this baseline, with the number of children killed or seriously injured 63 per cent lower than the baseline. This is very positive and welcome progress, with London consistently outperforming the national average in this area.
During the pandemic, traffic levels dropped significantly and therefore so did the number of people being killed and seriously injured on London’s roads in 2020 and 2021. This makes comparisons between years difficult and 2022 has sadly seen an increase in people killed and seriously injured for all modes. This largely reflects the increase in activity and traffic as London recovered from the pandemic. In 2022, the number of people who were killed or seriously injured increased by 11 per cent, rising from 3,580 in 2021 to 3,974 in 2022.
People walking, cycling and motorcycling continue to be most at risk, making up 80 per cent of all people killed or seriously injured in 2022. While the number of people killed while cycling has fallen by 58 per cent, the number seriously injured has increased by 42 per cent against the 2005-09 baseline. Over this time period, cycling journeys increased by 88 per cent, suggesting that cycling trips have become safer overall, but clearly there is a need to continue to roll-out safe cycle infrastructure, lower speeds and initiatives such as Direct Vision Standards (DVS).
TfL is working in partnership with the boroughs, police and other stakeholders to directly tackle road danger and continues to work on a number of major programmes to make London’s roads and the vehicles using them safer. TfL’s world-first Direct Vision Standard, which reduces lethal blind spots on lorries, is already helping to save lives and prevent life-changing injuries. TfL has also continued to work on its Safer Junctions programme to make life-saving changes at some of the capital’s most dangerous and intimidating junctions. With the completion of work at York Road roundabout in Wandsworth earlier this month, TfL has so far completed work at 44 junctions across London as part of the programme.
Cars continued to be the main vehicle type involved in collisions in 2022, and are the other vehicle involved in 65 per cent of all casualties on London’s roads. Speeding remains the biggest risk to road users with around half of the 2022 fatal collisions in London (48 out of 99) reporting speed as a contributory factor. TfL is committed to expanding its lowering speed limits programme, last month launching local engagement on plans to introduce 65km of new 20mph speed limits.
There has been a significant decrease in the number of people killed or seriously injured in collisions involving London Buses compared to the 2005-09 baseline, with a decrease of 54 per cent from 587 to 270. Alongside a significant increase in bus journeys, however, the number of people killed or seriously injured on or by a bus increased by 56 per cent compared to 2021, a year when the numbers of people travelling by bus was impacted by lockdowns and the pandemic. TfL is working to make significant improvements to bus safety and further details, including to the design of bus interiors, will be set out in a new Bus Safety Strategy to be published this summer. A new Bus Safety Innovation Challenge will also be launched over the summer focusing on innovations that will help to reduce bus customer injuries.
TfL is also delivering its world-leading Bus Safety Programme, with all new buses joining the London bus fleet – over 1,000 buses – currently compliant with either the 2019 or 2021 Bus Safety Standard. Intelligent Speed Assistance technology, fitted to one third of London’s buses, ensures buses comply with the speed limit, and Camera Monitoring Systems remove both the risk of a wing mirror hitting another road user and obscured visibility for the driver due to blind spots, adverse weather conditions or poor lighting. Acoustic Vehicle Alerting Systems are also being introduced on all new buses, to alert vulnerable road users to the presence of the quieter-running zero-emission vehicles in the fleet, while Advanced Emergency Braking and changes to the bus front-end are features to be rolled out from 2024.
Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, said: “Every death or serious injury on our streets is devastating, bringing heartache and tragedy to all those involved. This data shows that while significant progress is being made, further action is needed to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s streets. That’s why we have accelerated our 20mph speed limit programme, are tightening the Direct Vision Safety standard for HGVs and working with the boroughs to deliver high-quality cycle routes.”
Lilli Matson, TfL’s Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer said: “The latest casualty stats from 2022 show that it is imperative that we continue to do all we can to meet our Vision Zero goal of eliminating deaths and serious injury from London’s roads. Protecting everyone on the road is a priority for us. Without safe streets, we know that people won’t choose the most healthy and sustainable modes of transport and there is still much more to do to eradicate road deaths and serious injuries. We are determined to make London a greener, more sustainable and safer city, and Vision Zero is an essential part of building a better London for everyone.”
Nick Simmons, CEO of RoadPeace, said: “It is so saddening to learn that 101 lost their lives on London’s roads last year, and that the number of people killed and seriously injured in crashes has returned to pre-pandemic levels. This will have a devastating impact on the loved ones, friends and wider social circles of all those affected.
“Society can no longer tolerate this level of harm on our roads as an inevitable cost of mobility. Pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users, who are the most likely road crash victims in the capital, have a right to be safe when they use the roads.
“However we choose to get around, we all have a responsibility to share the roads safely. The vast majority of crashes are avoidable, and we all need to make it our priority to take care of ourselves and others when we travel.”
TfL continues to work closely with boroughs across the capital to invest in the walking and cycling infrastructure needed to enable increases in active travel and keep people walking and cycling safe. Since April last year, TfL and boroughs have delivered 14.6km of new or upgraded cycle routes and there are a further 13.9km in construction. In total, TfL aims to deliver at least 39km of new or upgraded cycle routes over the next 18 months, with the support of boroughs.
TfL is also working to lower speeds on a further 140km of its roads by May 2024 in inner and outer London, after introducing 28km of new lower speed limit schemes in March 2023. Indicative TfL monitoring of the 20mph speed limits introduced on roads within the central London Congestion Charging Zone shows a significant reduction in the number of collisions since its introduction. Data collected from 1st May 2020 to 30 June 2022 shows the number of collisions reduced by 25 per cent (from 406 to 304), and collisions resulting in death or serious injury reduced by 25 per cent (from 94 to 71), demonstrating the huge impact of lowering speeds across London.
TfL is working with the Met Police to increase their capacity to take enforcement action against drivers and riders who speed. They are currently on track to be able to take action on a million speeding offences by 2024/5, to provide a more effective deterrent to speeding. The Met Police enforced around 620,000 speeding offences committed in 2022/23, an increase of 35 per cent compared to the previous year.