Future Fleet Forum 2018: introduction by Alex Williams, Transport for London

Published:  10 March, 2018

The Mayor of London is passionate about supporting a growing city but he wants the cleanest, safest vehicles on the roads, smarter fleet operations, and protection for industrial land – that was the message from Alex Williams, director of city planning at Transport for London, who opened Future Fleet Forum by outlining Mayor Sadiq Khan’s priorities for London’s transport sector.

London, he said, is a city of perpetual and rapid change. Moreover, London is predicted to become a megacity – a city with a population of 10 million and above – within 15 years. This will strain its infrastructure and transport systems, therefore the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and London Plan are focused on growth, managed in a sustainable and responsible way. A key target is to increase the number of journeys made by sustainable means to 80% by 2041.

In terms of fleet, there are four key priorities. Number one is cleanliness, because London has an air quality crisis. To this end, the Ultra Low Emission Zone is coming to central London in 2019 and a consultation is underway to increase the standards for the LEZs and to expand the ULEZ to the north and south circulars. There are also plans for zero emission zones from 2025, and since January 2018 all new licenced black cabs must be zero emissions-capable.

The second priority is safety, with a major focus on HGVs, hence the consultations on the Direct Vision standard. This will be introduced in two stages between 2020 and 2024 and will ‘signal to industry that we need only the safest vehicles to work in London’.

Thirdly, the mayor wants fleet operators to work more efficiently. Alex highlighted the growing number of vans in the capital and the potential issues this will cause. ‘We need to reduce the number of vans, therefore we need smarter operations, consolidation centres, and a range of initiatives to manage the volume of vehicles.’

Finally, the London Plan is seeking greater protection for industrial land, which is being sold off for residential development. ‘We need some industrial land in London – the city can’t just be residential.’

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