Have you driven in or around London recently? With an estimated 80% of all trips in London (and 50% of Outer London journeys) being made by car, London's key road arteries are often congested, leading to frustration for motorists and residents alike.
And demand for road usage in our capital city will not lessen: The Transport for London experts estimate that the population of London will grow by 1.7 million by 2031; and that the number of road journeys will increase by some six million - or 25% - over the same period. Something needs to change.
A year ago London's mayor, Boris Johnson, set up the Roads Task Force (RTF) with a remit to explore ways to improve the city's roads. Last week the RTF published its recommendations for a 20 year, £30 billion investment programme and its "bold approach" was welcomed by the Mayor: "This report is a remarkably successful attempt to deal head-on with the massive and conflicting demands for space on London's roads".
The RTF's recommendations are indeed bold. Key to them are the "burying" of parts of key arterial roads such as the A12, A4 and North and South Circulars; the creation of new, probably toll-funded - roads, tunnels and bridges; the dismantling of some of London's big gyratory bottlenecks such as King's Cross and Wandsworth; the implementation of more 20mph speed limits across the capital; and a restriction on peak-time deliveries into central London.
The recommended package of measures will now be scrutinised in detail alongside the existing £4 billion investment in the capital's roads being undertaken by Transport for London over the next decade. Additional funding for projects could come from toll revenues as well as from the creation of commercially viable spaces as a result of the "burying" of key roads - in the same way that London's Crossrail project is being part-funded by developments above the new underground stations being built.
We will await developments with great interest and look forward to seeing how many of the RTF's recommendations get to see the cold light of day.
If you are a London motorist, we would welcome your thoughts.