Fuel consumption down but scale of diesel use remains a worry for health

Cab speeds past-2The amount of fuel consumed by vehicles on the roads of London has fallen by nearly a third over the past 10 years.

The biggest reduction has been in personal travel, which includes cars, motorbikes and buses. Fuel usage in these types of transport is down by 31%.  The reduction for freight transport, which includes vans and lorries, is down by 22%. Personal travel accounts for 2½ times the fuel consumed by freight.

As previously reported by Urbs, traffic volumes have gone down by about 7% since 2004 despite a rising population. But the reduction in fuel consumption can also be attributed to better fuel economy for vehicles.

The estimates are based upon data modelling by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and it shows that fuel consumption, like car ownership, is highest in the outer boroughs, particularly those north of the river, such as Enfield, Barnet and Havering. The highest consumption level is in Hillingdon.

Fuel consumption

The estimates look at where fuel is consumed rather than where it was bought so areas with large arterial roads are likely to have higher consumption levels – the M4 running out through Hillingdon or the M1 in Barnet, for example.

The reduction in consumption is good news environmentally but the data reveals a statistic which is having an impact on the city’s air quality – the shift from petrol to diesel cars. In 2004 consumption of diesel was about 20% of the consumption level for petrol. By 2013 it was 67%.

Diesel engines were promoted by the government as they produce lower levels of emissions that contribute to climate change, but they produce higher levels of N02.  Recent research by Kings College found that NO2 is having a far more harmful impact on health than had been previously recognised and responsible for nearly 6,000 deaths a year.

Source data

See also

London leads the way in declining car use but the East is bucking the trend

Nearly 9,500 deaths a year – study reveals impact of air pollution

Most boroughs fail on legal limit for toxic gas that could harm health

Emission targets at risk as growing population hits greener city plan

 

Road deaths and serious injuries down but pedestrians remain most at risk

pedestrian childFewer people were killed or seriously injured on the capital’s roads in the past 12 months.

According to data from Transport for London 2,167 people were killed or seriously injured in 2014, a 7% drop on 2013 and the lowest number since the current form of record keeping began in 1986.

Overall casualties figure that include minor injuries were up by 13% year-on-year with 30,785 people hurt in nearly 26,000 accidents. 38% of those injured were travelling in a car.

Pedestrians remain the most at risk of being killed on the road in London. Of the 127 people fatally injured, 64 were on foot and 104 were what TfL refers to as the most vulnerable groups – pedestrians, motor cyclists and cyclists.

Fatalities and Casualties on London’s Roads
Killed Serious Injury
Pedestrian 64 715
Cyclist 13 419
Motorbike/Scooter 27 499
Car 19 297
Van/Lorry 2 19
Taxi/Private Hire 0 13
Bus/Coach 0 71
Other 2 7

TfL’s current target for 2020 is to reduce deaths and serious injury by 50% from the average rate seen between 2005-09. Rates are currently 40% lower, and for children the 50% target has been achieved.

However those under 15 remain the most vulnerable pedestrians. 5,613 people on foot suffered some form of injury in a road accident in 2014. More than 1,000 of them were children.

Injuries to cyclists were up, but so is the popularity of cycling. Deaths and serious injuries rose by 3% on the 2005-09 average and minor injuries were up by 73%. Since 2005 the number of journeys taken by bike has risen by 92%, says TfL.

Men suffered 78% of cycling injuries, but they make three quarters of all cycle journeys, according to TfL. There was an even starker gender imbalance for motorbikes and scooters. Men take 87% of the journeys and suffered 93% of the injuries.

In comparison, injury rates for pedestrians and people in cars were split 54/46 male and female.

Source data

See also

Availability of public transport below average in all outer boroughs