Consultation response - TfL’s “School and Young Person Delivery Plan”

A response to Transport for London's Schools and Young Person Delivery Plan [pdf]

The Cycling Embassy of Great Britain welcomes TfL’s commitment to ensuring that young people have a range of transport options available to them, as well as the commitment to ensure that young people can safely and positively access these transport options.

We also welcome the central importance given to active travel options, and to the impact that air quality and congestion can have upon the lives not just of young people, but of all Londoners.

While we recognise that the central goal of this delivery plan is “ outline the wide range of projects that TfL runs with young people which help set future objectives”, we have several issues and concerns with a number of aspects of the plan.

Firstly, when discussing safety, the plan fails to address (or even mention) the central role in road safety that is played by vehicle speed. While it is crucial that all young people are correctly taught how to use our public spaces, especially the road network, it seems obvious that the most important available interventions to improve London’s worrying statistics on KSIs of young people are speed reduction and law enforcement.

We would further note that the Plan has nothing to say about improved road design, both in making walking and cycling safer, and making them more attractive and appealing transport options for young people. Features like tighter junction radii, speed tables across junction mouths, narrower vehicle lanes, and more zebra crossings would help not just in making walking a more attractive prospect for young people, but also in reducing the danger posed to them by motor vehicles.

The Plan also appears to have been drawn up in isolation of the newly-published Mayor’s New Vision for Cycling, which proposes a step change in the way cycling infrastructure is designed and implemented across London, with a greater emphasis on segregation from motor traffic. Better design, as proposed in the Vision, will make cycling a more comfortable, pleasant and safe experience for young people; yet it is not mentioned in the Plan.

Throughout the section of the Plan discussing safety, it is hard to avoid the impression that the victims in road traffic incidents are the ones who are being blamed, and it is impossible not to notice that all the measures discussed around the safety measures which young people must take are discussed in vacuo. The Cycling Embassy would expect the Young Person Plan to set these measures into their proper context, where the safety of London’s young people has an all-agency approach which addresses not merely the steps that need to be taken by young people, but also the steps that needed to be considered in enforcement, design and education. 

Perhaps the most glaring omission within this document is any substantive discussion of driving as a transport activity, especially when considering that many young people in our city will drive at some point. (In fact, in some outer London boroughs, driving is likely to be the primary choice for a significant minority of young people.) From insurance and DfT data we know that young people more likely to be involved in RTIs in which they are driving. Therefore there is a double importance to making driving an urgent part of education for young people: they need to be properly aware of their own responsibilities behind the wheel, as well as the risks that they face of being a victim of poor control of motor vehicles.

In the “Skills and Employment” section we would expect there to be some recognition that many young people will be in more genuine need of flexible travel options than older groups. We would expect this to arise because young people are more likely to be considering shift work, working unsocial hours, or otherwise needing to access transport outside core operating hours. At times like these, it becomes even more important that ‘active transport’ options are genuinely available to young people. We believe that cycling should be an active transport option for all Londoners, and we believe that this plan should recognise that to make cycling a likely and accessible option something more is required than telling young people how to get a bus pass, or how to behave on a train.


The Consultation is open until 27th March 2013 - please submit your response online