‘Driverless cars: on a road to nowhere’

We are very pleased to announce that Christian Wolmar will be joining us once again at a special event on Friday 9th February 2018.

Driverless cars: on a road to nowhere’ is the title of Christian’s latest book, and Christian will be speaking about this from 6pm at The Gallery, 75 Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EL. The venue is close to Farringdon station.

If you would like to attend the event, and join the discussion, it would be useful if you could let Chris Barker, Secretary of the London Group, know as places are limited. Full details, including how to contact Chris, are provided in the flyer below (which is also available as a pdf here).

Flyer for Christian Wolmar event 'Driverless cars: on a road to nowhere'




TfL and DfT partnership for a joined-up London rail network

A week after the publication of the Centre for London’s report Turning south London Orange: reforming rail to support growth, the secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, announced a new approach to the delivery of rail services in London and the south east.

In an announcement on 21 January 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) and Transport for London (TfL) set out a commitment to improve capacity and service levels across the region’s rail network. Essentially, the DfT and TfL will work together to create a more joined-up London rail network with more frequent services and increased capacity.

The proposals are set out in a prospectus to accompany a consultation (open until 18 March 2016). Details are provided at: A new approach to rail passenger services in London and the south east.

v1: 7.02.2016

Reforming suburban rail

On the 14 January 2016, the Centre for London published a new report “Turning south London Orange: reforming suburban rail to support London’s next wave of growth”.

The press release read: “South London’s transport network is over-crowed and congested. By 2025, the population is set to grow by 270,000 and the pressure on rail services will intensify. The solution? Upgrade south London’s rail network into the Overground, by devolving rail services to Transport for London”.

Details can be found at the Centre for London’s website in Turning south London Orange: Reforming Suburban Rail to support London’s next wave of growth, where you can also download the the report.

v1: 7.02.2016

Archway Gyratory Removal


By John MacBryde

The Archway Gyratory is one of the 30-odd (very odd) gyratories which have been identified in the Transport for London (TfL) programme for examination and possible early removal. “The Roads Task Force, a key election pledge by the Mayor, is looking at how TfL and the boroughs could redesign gyratories…and continue to make roads safer for all users. It is also looking at how the road network could better serve local communities.” [GLA Press Release]

Aerial view of Archway Gyratory (1963)
This “squareabout” junction was conceived by the London County Council in 1963 as part of the Archway Tower redevelopment scheme. It was intended to create the southern end of the then projected A1(T) dualling as far north as the A1-A1000 Wellington Junction, the northern part being the responsibility of the Middlesex CC, beyond the historic Archway Bridge. Only the short 6-lane widening was carried out by the LCC in 1963-64. The northern (1500 m) section was left as a 9 m single carriageway since MCC and the MoT were unable to agree a detailed scheme or finance.

Enter the late Transport Minister Marples. Being aggrieved by his recent M1 motorway ending up at the end of an unimproved A1(T) road in North London, he launched one of his more “juicy” one-way schemes of the 1960s. This created a de facto dual carriageway through Highgate by twinning the existing A1 road with the relatively minor B519 up Highgate and North Hill. Cue outrage by the wealthy burghers of Highgate Village who (largely) stopped it all happening.

The great irony, clearly lost on Marples, was that the Archway Road was conceived in 1820 as a bypass to Highgate Hill ! Marples megalomania required several satellite one-way systems to the north, south, east and west of the diamond shape mega-scheme in the middle. The damaging Highgate Village one-way lasted from 1963-93, ie until the formal DETR abandonment of the A1 dualling.

This dualling was the subject of two near-riotous public inquiries in the 1970s. Only two of the satellite gyratories, ie the Wellington A1-A1000 intersection to the north-west and the Archway A1-A400 junction to the south-east, survive to the present time. The latter is the subject of investigation by TfL for possible abandonment (as is also the Wellington Gyratory). A possible solution, prepared by the London Group of the Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) and basically derived from an earlier scheme of the local Better Archway Forum (BAF) is shown on the diagram (right).

Key to Diagram:

Outbound Traffic Lanes shown in WHITE

Inbound Traffic Lanes shown in BLACK

Kerbside [24h] Bus Lanes shown in RED

This effectively exploits the 3-4 lane capacity of the legs of the “squareabout” by reverting two of them (NE & SE) to two-way general traffic and two of them (NW & SW) to predominantly bus-priority “transit malls” (to use the US terminology) with limited [20 mph] access and egress for B519 traffic up and down Highgate Hill. The carriageway space outside Highgate Underground could thus serve as unified boarding and interchange area for the several LT bus routes passing through or terminating at Archway. This would be consistent with its old [1976] GLDP status as “A Major Interchange

The main objection to the revised scheme, as traffic engineers will be very quick to point out, is that there is “negative reserve capacity” compared with current peak hour flows. In other words, the same number of vehicles cannot negotiate the new layout. However, if throughput is calculated in terms of persons per hour (pers/h) as opposed to vehicles per hour (veh/h) there will probably be rough equivalence or even surplus capacity, given very much higher bus occupancy. Moreover, it would be eminently possible to speed bus movements by dint of virtually continuous kerbside bus lanes which would also act as de facto safer cycle lanes through the currently hazardous gyratory layout; two of the key issues and objectives set out in the 2012 Roads Task Force Report and its Proposals

The various arms of the former gyratory would thus conform to four of the nine individual categories of street (as defined in the 3×3 (“Tool Box”) matrix in the Roads Task Force Report). These might be characterised as follows (in all cases they should be subject to the current local (Islington) 20 mph speed limit).

NE:   Archway Road Directional lane management? B3 CITY STREET
SE:   St Johns Way Asymmetrical 3-lane layout C1 LOCAL STREET
SW: Highgate Hill Interchange + raised surface? C2 TOWN SQUARE
NW:Tollhouse Way Asymmetrical incl 2 bus lanes C3 CITY PLACE

© 2014 John MacBryde DA(Edin) DipTP(UCL) ARIBA MRTPI MCILT

An update on the 2050 London Infrastructure Plan

The Mayor launched a three-month consultation on his 2050 London Infrastructure Plan on 30th July. The Plan is the first attempt to set out the full range of infrastructure requirements for the capital over the next half century, during which time the population of London is forecast to increase by thirty seven per cent to more than 11 million people.

Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport, will present an update on the plan’s progress to the London Group of the Campaign for Better Transport at City Hall on Wednesday, 22nd October at 4pm.

If you would like to attend, please let us know in advance. Full details of how to do this are provided on the attached poster.


The group exists to campaign for sustainable transport solutions in London and to support the work of the campaign nationally