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Jacobs is Helping Londoners Swap to Active Travel

Two major active travel and road space reallocations projects in London, which Jacobs played a key role in, recently won Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation Awards.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people in towns and cities across the world have been taking to walking and cycling in record numbers, as they discover the many benefits of active travel. Local authorities have been quick to encourage this, closing off streets to vehicular traffic and giving pedestrians and cyclists more space. Many are looking to London for inspiration, where road space infrastructure has been reallocated to support the growing numbers of people who have been walking and cycling in England’s capital city in recent years.

Experts in active travel infrastructure and road space reallocation

Jacobs has supported local authorities in London on several active travel projects in recent years. One high profile project was the transformation of Highbury Corner, where we worked with Transport for London’s (TfL’s) engineers to develop proposals that converted one of inner-London’s most car-dominated, highly congested one-way systems into a new public place with safer junctions, high quality segregated cycle lanes and more direct pedestrian crossing facilities.

As part of the integrated project team, Jacobs used microsimulation modeling techniques to replicate cyclists and worked iteratively with TfL to refine and optimize the design concept in a heavily constrained location. This helped develop the concept into a viable, workable scheme which was then constructed by Ringway Jacobs through the London Highways Alliance (LoHAC) and opened by the Mayor of London in October 2019. The scheme is now being used as an exemplar for creating better places, driven by increasing appetite for more radical road-space reallocation and car-free zones. Members of the Jacobs project team have since presented workshops to local authorities and stakeholders across the U.K., as well as in New York and other car-dominant U.S. cities that are looking to create high quality urban spaces.

A 20-minute train ride to the north of Highbury lies the outer London Borough of Enfield, where we have worked closely with the local authority on their Mini-Holland’s project that will, when complete, provide 25km of new, high-quality segregated cycle lanes to a part of London that used to have one of the city’s lowest cycling participation rates. We worked with the Borough from the beginning, helping to prepare a successful funding bid that secured £30 million from the Mayor of London’s Mini-Holland cycling fund, then developed innovative designs for the identified corridors, in line with TfL’s Healthy Streets guidance and influenced by wider European best practice. We also supported stakeholder and consultation events, helping the team understand sensitive local challenges around residents’ parking, road safety and integration with local communities, all of which resulted in a well-rounded final scheme which provided broader benefits to all road users, alongside cyclists.

Award winning work

Jacobs colleagues in London had cause to celebrate last month (June 2020), when the Highbury Corner and Mini-Holland projects, two of 150 projects from across Britain competing for 11 awards, won their categories at the prestigious Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) 2020 Awards. Mini-Hollands won the Healthy Transport category, which recognizes the contribution of transport to the health of the population, and Highbury Corner won the Creating Better Places category, which recognizes how outstanding design and implementation of schemes in towns and cities improves the places around them.

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