Sadiq Khan talks on the expansion of the ULEZ in October
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London Mayor Sadiq Khan pointed to a report from traffic information supplier Inrix which found that London was the most congested city in the world last year. On average, drivers in the capital lost 148 hours per year because of congestion, with an average cost of £1,211 per driver in 2021.
In total, congestion cost London’s economy £5.1billion, more than the rest of the top 10 congested UK urban areas combined.
Congestion rates have almost returned to pre-Covid levels with a slight one percent decrease compared to 2019.
Mr Khan said unless more was done to deliver a sustainable future, the city would be replacing one public health crisis with another.
He added: “Whilst we have made huge strides in increasing walking and cycling in London throughout the pandemic, car use has remained consistently high.
“If we do not double down on our efforts to deliver a greener, more sustainable future, we will replace one public health crisis with another – caused by filthy air and gridlocked roads.
“The cost to both Londoners and the capital [should not] be underestimated, with days wasted stuck in traffic, billions lost to the economy and increased road danger and health impacts.
“Most traffic is caused simply by there being too great a demand for limited street space, meaning the only long-term solution can be to significantly reduce car use in favour of greener means of travel.”
The report also found that London was the most congested city in the world beating out the likes of Paris, Brussels, Moscow and New York.
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In 2019, London was only the 16th most congested city in the world.
In contrast to Sadiq Khan, Nick Bowes, chief executive of the Centre for London think tank said the congestion charge was “world-leading when it was introduced”, but argued that it’s now “outdated and its effectiveness has diminished over time”.
He continued, saying: “The Mayor needs to be bold and introduce a simpler, smarter and fairer system of road user charging that replaces both the congestion charge and the ultra-low emission zone.
“Such a scheme would tackle congestion, improve air quality and promote travel by public transport, walking and cycling, by charging drivers by the mile.
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