London streets set for green transformation with TfL trials

An intelligent solar-powered street,a noise-absorbing green wall and an electric vehicle delivery service are among the innovative sustainability schemes that have been awarded Future Streets Incubator funding by Transport for London (TfL).

TfL has announced numerous initiatives over the last few years aimed at streamlining London’s traffic issues while simultaneously lowering emissions and pollution

TfL has announced numerous initiatives over the last few years aimed at streamlining London’s traffic issues while simultaneously lowering emissions and pollution

TfL’s Future Streets Incubator Fund - one element of the Mayor’s £4bn road modernisation plan – has awarded four schemes in Oxford Street, Lavington Street, the Blackwall Tunnel underpass and Holborn to alleviate pollution and traffic on London’s limited road space.

TfL’s managing director of planning Richard De Cani said: “The fabulously creative and innovative ideas we are funding as part of the Incubator Fund capture the spirit of turning London’s streets into places for all to enjoy and work to deliver the vision of the Mayor’s Roads Task Force.

"By trialling new ideas, we are able to look to the future at how we can make our roads and public spaces work better for everyone.”

Big ideas

Oxford Street will soon play host to an ‘intelligent street’ which will generate energy through solar panels in roofs and canopies, while pavements will also be used to capture energy.

Lavington Street in Southwark will be equipped with a 'flexible boardwalk', allowing pedestrians to use the one-way system that is dominated by traffic. Plants and greenery will be added to the boardwalk to encourage wider use.

A noise-absorbing, green wall will be built to protect residents from noise pollution near the A12 Blackwall Tunnel between Empson Street and Gillender Street.

And the final scheme aims to introduce a centralised delivery platform for commodities such as milk and newspapers. Operating in Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles, electric vehicles and cargo bikes will deliver the goods to up to 320 local businesses. The central London service could reduce travel miles for vehicles by 81% and achieve carbon reductions of around 60% a year.

London's Deputy Mayor for Transport Isabel Dedring said: “Given the growing pressures on our road network to move people and goods, and tackle air pollution, we need to be evermore inventive in how we use our limited road space.

“These worthy winners are just a few examples of how we are trailing new approaches that could bring big benefits to roads across the city.”

TfL established the Fund in 2014 to create cost-effective and innovative measures to modernise the capital’s streets. The four schemes will now be trialled in their individual locations with the potential to be expanded across London.

Green transport

TfL has announced numerous other initiatives over the last few years aimed at streamlining London’s traffic issues while simultaneously lowering emissions and pollution.

Last year, the organisation introduced 51 all-electric buses into circulation in London. The Mayor’s office has also pledged £700m funding to ensure that by 2020 all 300 single deck buses operating in central London will be zero emission (either electric or hydrogen) and all 3,000 double deck buses will be hybrid. And a further 400 London buses will be retrofitted with a Selective Catalytic Reduction system, reducing nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions by up to 88%.

TfL also launched a new industry-led programme offering increased availability of low-emission vans and lorries in an effort to reduce the emissions of the capital's freight and fleet operators.

Matt Mace


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