Mayor’s Question Time: Cycling (December)

With thanks to the office of Jenny Jones AM, here is the monthly digest of questions and answers to the Mayor that are relevant to cycling.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Cycle hire scheme
Question No: 210 / 2009
Valerie Shawcross
How many planning applications for cycle hire docking stations have been granted, how many refused and how many are outstanding? Is the project still on schedule to start in May with 6,000 bikes, 365 docking stations and 10,000 docking points?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner: ?As at 2 December 2009, TfL had submitted 443 Cycle Hire planning applications.  333 of these applications have been approved, 60 have been refused or withdrawn, and the remaining 50 are yet to be determined. 
In the case of refusals, TfL will be working with the borough to either modify the proposal or identify an alternative location nearby. 
The Cycle Hire Scheme is on schedule to launch in summer 2010 with 6,000 bikes, around 400 docking stations and 10,000 docking points.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Railings and barrier removal consultation
Question No: 212 / 2009
Valerie Shawcross
What is TfL doing to ensure that local residents in general and visually impaired residents in particular, are informed and consulted about plans to remove sections of kerbside railings and barriers on TfL red routes?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
The Mayor made clear in his election manifesto that he would instruct TfL to review the use of guard rail throughout the Transport for London Road Network (TLRN) to improve the look and feel of London, and remove it wherever it was not providing a clear safety benefit.
TfL is implementing this pledge, and in each case undertakes a stringent risk assessment to confirm whether the guard railing provides a clear safety benefit. The results of these assessments, in addition to consultation with the local borough, then inform TfL’s decision for removal or retention of the guard rail. Where a risk assessment recommends that guard railing be removed, there is an audit of the safety implications of doing so by TfL’s London Road Safety Unit.
Thousands of guard rail sites are being assessed for removal. In order to ensure that TfL can manage any objections to removal at such a large number of simultaneous locations efficiently, the local borough is consulted so that they may provide TfL with their extensive local knowledge, including views expressed by local stakeholders, rather than approaching residents or residents’ associations directly on each occasion. Any comments or feedback offered by the local borough are then considered and reviewed prior to any removal.
There is a further safety audit following removal of guard railing, and any comments received from residents are included in this audit. This further audit ensures that the decision to remove the guard railing was correct.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Traffic lights (4)
Question No: 193 / 2009
Jenny Jones
What monitoring is planned to track KSIs at junctions where traffic lights have been switched off or removed?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
TfL will monitor all reported collisions at junctions where they know that the signals have been deactivated.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
HGVs and Cyclists
Question No: 239 / 2009
Valerie Shawcross
I have been asked to put the following question to you by a member of the public:
Do you think it is sufficient to rely on a voluntary scheme such as the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme when 8 out of 10 cyclist fatalities have involved collisions with lorries? Some cyclists would like to see a rush hour HGVs ban, what is your view on this?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
TfL is very much aware of the issue of cyclist safety relating to HGVs and we are working on a number of initiatives to further improve cyclists’ safety. Most recently we launched an autumn Cycle Safety campaign that seeks to raise awareness, among all users, of the need for safer and more responsible behaviour on the Capital’s roads.  The campaign has a particular emphasis on reducing the conflict between cyclists and goods vehicles.  Please see the attached appendix for a summary of activities taking place within the campaign.
I do not believe there is case for a rush hour ban on HGVs entering London given the vital role Freight plays in supporting London’s economy.  Such a measure would be difficult to introduce, operate and enforce; and I doubt that it would be supported by freight operators or those reliant on their services – not least London’s many businesses. Such a ban might encourage operators to use larger fleets of smaller vehicles, with potential knock-on effects on congestion and emissions.  A better alternative, I believe, are Delivery and Servicing Plans (DSPs) which aim to reduce the number of freight trips overall, particularly during peak periods, and which are promoted through TfL’s London Freight Plan. DSPs promote the consolidation of delivery and servicing activities so that fewer vehicles are needed and encourage out of hours deliveries where appropriate.  DSPs also encourage the use of operators who have a proven record of safer operating practices and standards, such as those belonging to FORS.
I believe it is possible for HGVs and cyclists to share the road safely and TfL is pursuing the initiatives I described above to ensure this is realised.

Activities being promoted under the Autumn Cycle Safety Campaign include:
- Lobbying Central Government for more stringent safety measures on HGVs, for example retro-fitting of mirrors to give drivers better all-round visibility and side-guards to help prevent cyclists going under vehicles,  ?
- Encouraging goods vehicle fleet operators and those who use their services to adopt improved and safer operating standards and practices, for example through membership of the Freight Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS), ?
- Publishing research that examines in detail cyclist fatalities arising from  collisions between HGVs and cyclists and the lessons that can be learnt,?
- Launching a draft Cycle Safety Action Plan that will better co-ordinate and focus activity to improve safety conditions for cyclists and to encourage safer cycling & ?
- Establishing a Cycle Safety Working Group drawing on the experience and expertise of a wide range of agencies to make sure the Action Plan is effective?

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Cycle Parking in central London
Question No: 240 / 2009
Valerie Shawcross
I have received a complaint about the lack of cycle parking spaces on Pall Mall near the Institute of Directors. What steps are you taking to increase the amount of secure cycle parking available in central London?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
I am aware that there is a shortage of provision for cycle parking in the Trafalgar Square area.  As part of my plans for Cycle Hire there will be 1,000 additional cycle parking spaces on street in the central area – the specific locations and implementation are matters for the individual local authorities.  There is spare capacity in the underground car parks within the Westminster security zone and Transport for London has this year been working with the Cross River Partnership to try to establish a secure cycle park in a City of Westminster owned car park – such as the one off Pall Mall.  The Institute of Directors – or other local employers – might also enquire of TfL as to what can be provided for their staff through TfL’s Workplace Travel Plan scheme.
Much of the initiative to increase London’s cycle parking rests with the London boroughs as in the majority of cases they are the responsible highway authorities. In this specific case the responsibility rests with the City of Westminster.  Westminster is under enormous pressure to find more space for cycle parking on streets and in other places where there are already a wide range of competing and often conflicting demands for any space available.  The actions TfL has taken to assist boroughs deliver additional cycle parking include:
- Revising the conditions governing funding arrangements for transport schemes, so that the local authorities now enjoy greater flexibility in how schemes are developed and delivered.
- Preparing plans for how the various stakeholders involved might co-ordinate efforts towards meeting the Mayor’s target of 66,000 new parking spaces by the end of his first term.  A toolkit of advice and guidance on cycle parking is being prepared for developers, planners, property owners/occupiers and individuals.  These documents are due to be available early next year.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Proposed footbridge – Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf
Question No: 242 / 2009
Valerie Shawcross
I have been asked to put the following question to you by a member of the public:
Why has the proposed cyclist and pedestrian bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf not been taken forward?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
It is premature to describe this facility as “proposed”.
TfL has provided funding to Sustrans to undertake a feasibility study for a pedestrian and cycle bridge across the Thames as part of their Greenways for Olympics and London (GOAL) plans. This work produced a business case for a vertical lifting bridge at a cost of some £70m, linking Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf at a similar location to the existing ferry at Canary Wharf / Hilton Piers.
Initial soundings by Sustrans generated enthusiasm and support from the local Boroughs, employers, land owners and the Canary Wharf Group but there was an unwillingness to commit to funding for construction until they had seen a major funder, such as TfL, commit first. This is something that TfL has been unable to consider given its existing business plan commitments and the current funding situation that it faces.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Cyclist enforcement
Question No: 244 / 2009
Valerie Shawcross
Will the Mayor encourage/support strong enforcement action against cyclists who cycle on the footway, particularly giving a strong emphasis and enforcement presence on specific days when walking is encouraged, such as walk to work etc
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
I have instructed TfL to consider opportunities to co-ordinate walking and cycling promotion with enforcement initiatives as you suggest, although responsibility for delivery of such co-ordination will generally be managed at a local level by London boroughs and local Metropolitan Police borough commanders.  TfL is keen to deter irresponsible cyclists from jeopardising the safety of pedestrians and others, just as we are also keen to deter irresponsible drivers, motorcyclists and pedestrians from jeopardising the safety of cyclists.
To address unlawful and inconsiderate behaviour TfL is leading on the ‘Share the Road’ campaign through which all road users are encouraged towards greater awareness of their responsibilities to, and respect for, others. In a similar vein, TfL is this year investing over £3m in cycle training which is delivered locally and includes the encouragement of considerate cycling practice.  

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU) (1)
Question No: 249 / 2009
Joanne McCartney
What consultation did TfL have with the MPS before announcing it was to withdraw funding from the Commercial Vehicle Licencing Unit?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
TfL has withdrawn funds effective from the next financial year from the Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU), not the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Unit.
Active discussions have taken place on the optimal distribution of CVEU functions between the MPS and TfL. A further meeting on this matter is scheduled in January.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU) (2)
Question No: 250 / 2009
Joanne McCartney
How can TfL ensure that all aspects of the work previously undertaken by the CVEU will continue to the same quality and effectiveness as before?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
TfL is committed to FORS as the most cost effective way to improve safety, lawfulness and fairness for the freight industry and is developing more cost efficient ways to deliver the scheme. Some examples of how this work, formerly that of the CVEU, is being achieved include: continuing road side stops and company visits by the MPS; referral of operators to join FORS and the continuing monitoring thereafter; and independent assessments by specialists before a company is awarded FORS Bronze accreditation.
The MPS will continue to visit companies involved in fatal collisions for prosecution investigation.
Currently other FORS delivery partners provide workshops, forums, toolkits and bespoke training to further improve safety for FORS members and this will continue to be monitored by the FORS team.
The details of how some of the activities currently undertaken by the MPS might be more effectively delivered between TfL and the MPS are being discussed.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU) (3)
Question No: 251 / 2009
Joanne McCartney
What guarantees have TfL obtained from the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme (FORS) that they will maintain the quality and scope of the work previously undertaken by the CVEU? Is there a service level agreement in place?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
Please refer to my answer to 250 / 2009.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU) (4)
Question No: 252 / 2009
Joanne McCartney
What monitoring of the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme is TfL planning to undertake to ensure that the work previously undertaken by the CVEU will be maintained?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
Road-side stops and company visits following these stops will continue to be undertaken by the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) who will also continue to make prosecutions and where appropriate provide instruction to drivers and freight operators. Following the current MPS review of service level they can offer, they will be asked to voluntarily report on these activities to the FORS Team.
Referral of operators to join FORS will continue to be undertaken by the MPS and the membership application data will identify where the referral has come from. This will continue to be monitored by the FORS team who monitor uptake of the scheme by company, depot and vehicle numbers.
Independent assessment to ensure that operators’ procedures for safety, lawfulness and fairness are verified before FORS bronze is awarded, will be undertaken via contracted service providers. The level of service and reporting will be specified in the contract and will be monitored by the FORS team.
The ability for enforcement to be taken by the MPS under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, specifically those concerning Driving at Work, INDG 382, is monitored by the MPS and reported to the FORS team.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Metropolitan Police Commercial Vehicle Education Unit (CVEU) (5)
Question No: 253 / 2009
Joanne McCartney
What future funds have the Freight Operators Recognition Scheme committed to the work previously undertaken by the CVEU?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
The Independent assessment to ensure that operators’ procedures for safety, lawfulness and fairness are verified before FORS bronze is awarded (which was previously undertaken by the CVEU) will be undertaken by contracted specialists. The budget for these assessments is circa £0.4m per year.  Referral of operators to join FORS will continue to be undertaken by the MPS at no cost to TfL.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
London Safety Camera Partnership
Question No: 254 / 2009
Joanne McCartney
What changes to the administration, staffing and funding of the LSCP is TfL planning to make in the next financial year?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
Following the removal of Department for Transport (DfT) ring-fenced funding for the London Safety Camera Partnership (LSCP), TfL has set aside a provisional budget of £6.5 million to maintain the core programme through 2009/10. Together with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), TfL has written to the DfT and the Home Office to press for a return to ring-fenced arrangements for the funding of the LSCP. This request has been declined.
TfL is now considering the future operating model for the London safety camera network as we are committed to achieving road casualty reductions and the safety camera network is an integral part of our wider road safety programme. TfL is considering options to achieve the same road safety benefits at a lower cost. We are also keen to give drivers the option of further road safety training in place of fines and licence points. The long-term LSCP strategy will be discussed in detail with the MPS and a revised approach should be agreed in early 2010.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Road Safety
Question No: 255 / 2009
Joanne McCartney
By withdrawing funding from the CVEU and the LSCP is TfL signalling that it is downgrading the priority given to road safety?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
No, TfL is not downgrading the priority given to road safety.
London has a very impressive track record in terms of casualty reduction and we remain committed to improving road safety in London.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
TfL Partnerhsip Funding
Question No: 256 / 2009
Joanne McCartney
What other partnership funding arrangements linked to road safety and accident reductions are TfL proposing to cut or not proceed with?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
There are no other road safety partnerships that are planned to be cut or terminated.
Following the removal of DfT ring-fenced funding for the London Safety Camera Partnership (LSCP), TfL has set aside a provisional budget of £6.5 million to maintain the core programme through 2009/10. Together with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), TfL have written to the DfT and Home Office to press for a return of ring-fenced arrangements for the funding of the LSCP. This request has been declined.??TfL is now working with the MPS on a future strategy for the Partnership. We are committed to achieving road casualty reductions and the road safety camera programme is an important element of our wider road safety programme. TfL and the MPS are currently working on options to achieve the same road safety benefits at a lower cost. We are also keen to give drivers the option of further road safety training in place of fines and license points. The long term LSCP strategy will be in place by early 2010.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
TfL/MPS Funding
Question No: 257 / 2009
Joanne McCartney
How many MPS officers/staff do TfL currently fund? How much is the funding worth? How with the funding change in the next financial year?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
During 2009/10 TfL will fund approximately 1,700 MPS Safer Transport Command officers/staff posts at a cost of £89m. 
TfL and its policing partners are currently in discussion concerning detailed estimates for 2010/11 activity, with an emphasis on securing efficiency savings that do not adversely affect outcomes, and indeed improve them. In addition, the MPS provides other services in relation to road policing which amount to some £5m this year.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Segways
Question No: 290 / 2009
Victoria Borwick
Does the Mayor foresee a role for segways or other small self-balancing electric vehicles as a future mode of transportation in parts of the capital?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
At present the answer is “no”, not least because Segways can only legally be used on private land with the owner’s consent and any change to this would require legislation at national level. TfL will follow any debate in this area with interest as there are concerns as to how comfortably and safely Segways and pedestrians could share the footway, and what hazards these machines might pose to people with disabilities.  I think there is more to be gained from encouraging active and sustainable modes of transportation such as walking and cycling.

Boris Johnson (Chair, TfL) and Peter Hendy (Commissioner, TfL)
Oyster Card
Question No: 315 / 2009
Roger Evans
Will Oyster PAYG be available for the Cycle Hire Scheme?
Answer from the Chair and Commissioner:
The technologies that exist to manage cycle hire systems would require a high degree of re-engineering to accommodate Oyster, which would have added significant additional costs and potential for delay.  Additionally, the Financial Services Authority interpretation of European Union e-money regulations limits stored value on Oyster to £90, which is insufficiently flexible for the requirements of the Cycle Hire scheme. 
For these reasons and in order to ensure value for money, a decision was taken to implement the scheme in summer 2010 without Oyster compatibility.  A simple-to-use, automated payment system with dedicated user cards will support the London Cycle Hire scheme at the time of launch, with the possibility to be fully integrated with Oyster in the future.