Thursday 22 June 2017 07.00 BST
Mike Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, once said “in God we trust; everyone else bring data”. London has moved towards the mantra of one man who transformed a city for cycling by using a major data analysis to show where cycling routes could be built to get the greatest number of people on to two wheels.
Transport for London (TfL) has taken census data, cycle counts, surveys and data from the city’s hire bikes to identify future urban development and growth hotspots and collision data. They have created a map of 25 corridors across London, along which the greatest number of cycling trips could be generated.
Some believe the Strategic Cycling Analysis (SCA) could prove crucial in pushing London’s 32 boroughs – who control 95% of the city’s roads – to build the future cycle superhighways, quietways and liveable neighbourhoods. At present, boroughs form an incoherent patchwork of mixed-quality, stop-start odds and ends for cycling, and some boroughs do not want any cycling routes.
The London Cycling Campaign’s Simon Munk calls the SCA, and the city’s new data-led approach to cycling, “really important”.
“It really does demonstrate in a strong, data-led way if you spend money, people will cycle. That changes the tone and the tenor of the conversation quite dramatically,” he said.
“For years and years and years we have had small groups of cyclists passionate about their patch demanding change, then you have councillors saying, ‘No one cycles around here, no one ever will, forget it.’
“It’s not just ‘if you build it, they will come’; it’s ‘this is where to build it’. That ‘no one cycles in my area’ conversation is pretty much over,” he said.