Local Transport Today is the authoritative, independent journal for transport decision makers. Analysis, Comment & News on Transport Policy, Planning, Finance and Delivery since 1989.

The future of the human race – active travel in London

Boris Bikes, Barclay’s Cycle Superhighways, Exhibition Road – London’s sustainable travel projects are world famous. But what lessons can other cities take from more than a decade of active travel promotion in London? TfL Surface Transport’s director of planning, Ben Plowden, considers some answers

Ben Plowden
Exhibition Road
Exhibition Road
Cycle superhighways
Cycle superhighways


When I see an adult on a bicycle”, HG Wells allegedly said, “I do not despair for the future of the human race”. The notion that active travel is a “good thing” is not new. But the political and practical treatment of active travel has changed significantly in recent years, not least in London.

The idea of “active travel” is imprecise. It is generally taken to mean walking, cycling and wider behaviour changes stimulated by travel demand management...

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