Examination of Witnesses (Questions 429
TUESDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2002
429. Could I welcome you to the final session.
(Mr Palmer) My name is Derek Palmer.
I work for Steer Davies Gleave. I am here, I suspect, because
my company has been responsible for preparing guidelines on transport
assessments for development proposals for both the DTLR and the
Scottish Executive. Prior to joining Steer Davies Gleave I worked
for the Institution of Highways and Transportation, which published
guidelines on Traffic Impact Assessment and on Planning for Public
Transport in Developments.
(Mr McKenna) My name is Phil McKenna, I work for London
Underground. I am part of the Marketing and Planning Department
of London Underground. My main responsibility is to do with planning
of line upgrades and station capacity enhancements.
(Mr Goulcher) My name is Adam Goulcher, I am the Director
of Marketing and Planning for London Underground with responsibility,
amongst other things, for the area Phil just described.
430. Do any of you want to say anything more
or are you happy for us to go to questions?
(Mr Palmer) Just one observation, Chairman, having
read all of the written evidence which has been published I noticed
there was very little comment on transport generally!
Chairman: Yes. Perhaps people are worried about
what happens in the blocks rather than how to get to them.
431. To which end let us start with how to get
to them, London Underground has said that you are going to increase
capacity by 15 per cent over the next 20 years. In actual number
terms how many people does that enable you to carry into the City,
into the West End and the rest of central London?
(Mr Goulcher) The current volume that we bring into
central London is about 390,000
in the peak hours and the increase would be proportionate to that.
432. What is the impact if that capacity takes
place? How does that capacity relate to your projection of future
growth and passenger numbers coming into those areas? By increasing
capacity are we reducing overcrowding or are we standing still
with capacity increase?
(Mr Goulcher) Our view is that over the long term
we are likely to be standing still. The capacity increases that
we can deliver will roughly be matched by increase in demand.
Our current projections suggest that the capacity will be slightly
ahead of the amount of growth, because a lot of the growth is
off-peak. Basically we are very reliant on new infrastructure
to cater for growth in demand.
433. What you are saying is that if central
London goes ahead and develops a number of major new centres,
a number of tall buildings and brings in additional numbers of
people into the centre they will experience the same level of
overcrowding in the future that there is today?
(Mr Goulcher) If you start to look at individual developments
and their location then it becomes very dependent on the patterns.
For example, as the evidence showed, over the last 20 years or
so there has been a reduction in some parts of Westminster, for
example, whilst we have seen huge growth in Docklands and also
in some City locations. It would be difficult to say what the
outcome would be in general, you would expect it to be broadly
434. What assessments have you made about likely
areas for development and capacity and your plans to deal with
(Mr Goulcher) It is something that we have a watching
brief over. The difficulty is that it obviously takes a long time
for development to move from initial idea to completion, and it
probably takes even longer for Underground infrastructure schemes
to go through the same process. What we do is keep a watching
brief and at the same time we undertake studies to understand
where particular stations are in relation to their capacity and
the current demand that allows us to prioritise those locations,
where there is a current problem or where we have modest growth.
435. Can I just clarify one point, the DTLR
have told us that 15 per cent is over 30 years and London Underground
said 20 years, which is right?
(Mr Goulcher) The growth in which?
(Mr Goulcher) We would expect to deliver most of that
capacity growth within the next 10 to 20 years.
437. "Most of" is a loose phrase.
(Mr Goulcher) The only one in our current plans beyond
that is the Bakerloo line, where the demand is not as big a problem
as else where. On all of the lines where there are current serious
congestion problems by the middle of the next decade we would
have expected to have implemented those upgrades.
438. We know that the Central Line is already
classified as very crowded. I am rather perturbed to read that
without further capacity for demand on the Central Line it will
still be classified as crowded by 2015. Do you think that the
construction of tall buildings along the Central Line is going
to make things worse?
(Mr Goulcher) We have had a major project, as you
are probably aware, on the Central Line over the last 10 years,
which has broadly completed now in terms of infrastructure works.
It has met one of our objectives for improved reliability by 15
per cent. Obviously the more reliable the service the more capacity
it has, so we have seen relief of congestion there. The current
plans that we have will aim to further increase the capacity over
the next three or four years, effectively completing the project.
In terms of whether future development will be manageable or not,
it very much depends where that location is, how it is distributed,
what the development is for, if it is residential or office space,
and so forth. The Central Line performance and its capacity have
increased greatly and are not our most acute problem at the moment.
439. You seem really nice so I am really sorry
you are the London Underground person I have to vent my rage on,
as someone who lives at Mile End, on behalf of all my constituents,
many of whom are crushed close to me during rush hour, we have
not yet noticed that improvement, but we look forward to it very,
very much. Do you think it would be prohibitively expensive to
expand the Underground's capacity to meet an increase in demand
if there were a tall building which could add as much as 25 per
cent to the hourly demand on the Central Line during morning peak
(Mr Goulcher) The plan over the next three or four
years, which I mentioned, will take us to round 33 trains an hour
in the peak hour. We do not know of many examples, if any, around
the world of metros running capacity in excess of that and, therefore,
we do not see any opportunity to increase the capacity, unless
there is a step-change in the technology and that is proved else
where and we are able to bring it forward in London.
1 This excludes numbers travelling onwards by Underground
from National Rail termini (200,000). Back