London suffers the worst traffic congestion in the UK and amongst the worst in Europe. Drivers in central London used to spend 50% of their time in queues and lost 3 million pounds every week in wasted time caused by congestion. Several measures have been taken to solve this problem:
- Red Routes are streets marked with various lines and signage that regulate loading, unloading, parking and passenger pickup.
- Double red lines along the edge of the street mean stopping isn’t allowed at any time for any reason
- Single red lines allows for parking, loading or pickup of passengers only on off-peak times (after 7 pm or before 7 am, and Sundays)
- Red Boxes indicate parking or loading permitted at off-peak times, which are shown on the sign
- White boxes indicate parking or loading may be allowed at any time, with certain restrictions noted on the sign.
- Red Route clearways are areas where there are no road markings but clearway signs indicate that stopping isn’t allowed at any time except at marked lay-bys.
- A Congestion Charging Scheme is in place where you must pay to drive in London during peak hours. Even the residents are not exempt, though they do get a lower rate to pay. It is all done via cameras and online, so there is no getting away with it! As you enter and exit a congestion zone, your photo is taken. At midnight, images of all the vehicles that have been in the charging zone are checked against the vehicle registration numbers of those that have paid the fee. If you should have paid but haven’t, a penalty charge notice is mailed to the registered owner.
- Transport Strategy is an overarching scheme to make public transportation more readily available, affordable, reliable and efficient.
So, take the Tube and Mind the Gap!