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John Forbes Consulting LLP supports the proposed new cycling superhighways, the "Crossrail for bikes" Below we explain why, and why we believe strongly that other businesses should do the same.


The proposal


Transport for London has announced consultations over the creation of two new cycling superhighways, an East West route from Acton to Tower Bridge and a North South route from Elephant and Castle to Kings Cross. The consultation period runs to 19th October. The consultation is separate for each of the routes and can be found here and here.


The RAC Foundation and other organisations are lobbying against the proposals, opposing the reallocation of road space to cycling provision. It is important that those who are in favour respond positively to the consultation and encourage the organisations with which they are involved to do the same.


Cycling in Central London already represents 24% of rush hour traffic and is increasingly important as a means of commuting. There is a demand for offices with improved facilities for those cycling to work, to which the property industry is responding. London as a city, however, is lagging behind. Per the latest "Copenhagenize" index of cycling friendliness London does not appear in the top 20 cities, (see here) falling behind not only the leading cycling cities, Amsterdam and Copenhagen, but also other major European cities, Paris, Berlin, Barcelona and Dublin.


Building Healthy Places


Infrastructure to promote cycling and walking is essential to a healthy city.

The case for London cycling superhighways

The Urban Land Insitute has been promoting thinking regarding creating Healthy Places through an initiative launched in July 2013. "Healthy Places are designed, built, and programmed to support the physical, mental, and social well-being of the people who live, work, learn, and visit there." More details can be found here.


Why the proposals are vital for London


Cycling infrastructure is vital for a modern city. The case for London was very well articulated in a letter to the Evening Standard recently by a group of leading academics, see here.

In our view there are many compelling reasons for the business community to support the proposals, including:


1)  London is a dangerous, polluted, congested city. Its air quality and its carbon footprint are dismal, due to a grotesque over-reliance on motorised transport. This is unsustainable. This is a business issue in its own right, but more significantly shareholders, customers, employees and other stakeholders increasingly expect businesses to take a broader view of their social resposibilities. We need to support the cycling superhighways initiative first and foremost because it is the right thing to do.


2)  Attracting young talent to work in London is vital to the future prosperity of the city. Cycling to work is a key consideration for many new graduates just joining the workforce, particularly in some of the dynamic young industries, such as in the technology field, that London is seeking to encourage.


3) The banks, insurance companies, accountants, law firms and others that form the backbone of the City have hundreds of employees who cycle to work. Here is a photo of the staff "car" park at PwC. Cycling infrastructure is as vital as Crossrail and the improvements to the underground.

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