Unlocking London with an integrated transport system
Over the past 18 months COVID-19 has transformed the way that people and organisations behave. To accelerate a return to London and truly unlock its potential a more integrated approach to the transport system is required.
As we see people increasingly returning to work in the city’s offices, and both domestic and international travel re-emerging, a world-leading, digitally enabled transport system will be London’s ticket to remaining the UK’s gateway to the world. And this system cannot be fit solely for the needs of today, it must be ready for the travel of the future.
This will require transport industries and providers to converge, working on projects holistically, with a focus on the needs of people and communities. If we take rail and aviation, Heathrow integrates the capital with the world, yet is reliant on London’s rail activity to aid the end-to-end passenger experience. Upgrades to either industry will undoubtedly benefit the other. Each individual transport component plays its small part in a much more complex, wider system to successfully move people in and around the city.
For a cohesive master plan approach to work effectively we need to understand how society will move in the future. At Jacobs we’re using data-driven insights and advanced analytics to understand people’s movements in the capital. This intelligence can then be used to devise smarter cities and connected places that are more resilient and sustainable than before.
But to ensure a transport system remains responsive to the needs of people using it, social value must be placed at the centre of decision-making processes, facilitating better-informed and more equitable investment and planning. At Jacobs, we’ve partnered with Simetrica-Jacobs, the global leaders in social value, to develop the world’s first set of equity and welfare weights using a methodology approved by the Treasury’s Green Book. This quantifies social value in infrastructure planning, enabling the design and delivery of projects to develop purposeful outcomes. Simetrica-Jacobs also made important contributions to the new guidance for the economic appraisal of wellbeing to supplement the Green Book. These approaches will make sure London’s communities feel transport projects are being developed for them, not simply provided to them.
And across all of this we need to develop an integrated transport system in the context of the UK’s commitment to addressing the climate crisis. To decarbonise London’s transport system we need to take a holistic, industry-wide approach. Achieving net-zero won’t be easy, but this is a period of real opportunity for the sector to do things in a better, cleaner way.
As we emerge from the pandemic things will look very different. But right now we have an opportunity to create an aspirational future for London. Aided with an efficient, integrated transport system, London has the potential to cement its global city status and re-build the capital in an even more sustainable way than before.
Tune in to series one and two of What Next for London? to hear views on London, our Covid-19 recovery and more