Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 429 - 439)




  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.

Mr Grayling

  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[1] 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 balanced.

  434. What assessments have you made about likely areas for development and capacity and your plans to deal with those?
  (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?

  436. Capacity.
  (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.

Ms King

  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 hours?
  (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

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