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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Jack Priestman

Urban Mobility in London.
The way in which people move within a city is a key determinant of its overall success, in terms of its economy, the environment and its social aspects. London provides one of the World’s most sophisticated transport systems and is experiencing a modal shift from private motorised transport to public transport, cycling and walking. Encouraging walking is a key strategic focus for the Mayor of London, in particular due to its potential for alleviating strain on capacity of the public transport system. This research uses both quantitative statistical methods and qualitative observational analysis to identify key socio-economic, demographic, route characteristic and urban form factors that influence the propensity of an individual to walk to work. The results explain how the spatial form and historical urban development of London accounts for the substantial variability in walking rates exhibited across the  city. Further, it is shown that empirically commuters are sensitive to factors such as distance, time, cost and reliability of the trip, but not particularly influenced by weather conditions, crime levels and the strenuousness of route. Altogether, these results allow decision-makers to prioritise effectively in their design of policies that encourage a continued modal shift away from vehicular transport to other methods of travel, in particular, walking.