Street Smarts: Report of the Commission on the Future of London’s Roads and Streets


Sir Malcolm Grant, Chair of the Commission

London’s roads and streets, built up over centuries, face unprecedented pressure today. With a larger population than ever before, and an increase in traffic of most types, many of London’s roads and streets are congested, polluting and poor quality places.

In response to this, Centre for London set up this Commission as an independent body to consider the challenges facing London’s roads and streets, to develop a compelling and comprehensive vision for change, and to recommend the packages of policies that could bring this vision about.

For while the challenges are large, so are the opportunities: public awareness of the environmental and public health impact of driving is growing, cities around the world have been experimenting with ways of reallocating road space and promoting active transport, and technological developments promise dramatic change in how mobility is provided to citizens.

As London’s growth continues, we need a fundamental reappraisal of how our roads and streets operate not only as conduits for travel but also as public spaces, enabling activity and sociability, adding to the vitality of neighbourhoods, and creating a better city.

The recommendations made in this report will require political courage, investment and a long-term view. But London needs action now to preserve economic and social vitality, and environmental sustainability in the years to come. I am grateful to the experts who served on the Commission for giving so generously their expertise and wisdom, and for the liveliness of our debates that led to the conclusions and recommendations set out below.

I am also grateful to the funders who supported the Commission, and the teams at Centre for London and Atkins who provided administration and research support.

I commend the Commission’s findings to London and national government.