This case study is a bit experimental: it includes looking at the increase in scenario commuter cycling potential that might be generated by a new bridge link where a ferry is now. I was given the idea by a colleague in Sustrans London, who talked about the work they were doing on a potential bridge between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf.

The image shows where the bridge would be, pretty close to where a ferry now runs. For around half the relevant local commuter routes that I identified, the Cyclestreets ‘quieter route’ goes via the ferry. In three-quarters of such cases the ferry route is actually shorter than the ‘fastest route’. However it’s slower, because it involves dismounting and waiting – and as you also have to pay, such commuters are unlikely to use the ferry. Instead they’ll divert over Tower Bridge or, more likely, through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel – in itself hardly ideal, given its limited capacity, sometimes broken lifts, and potential need to dismount (cycling has traditionally been banned, but under a trial is permitted at quieter times).

The lack of good crossings may well suppress cycling. A personal anecdote: but the experience of struggling up (or down) the Greenwich Foot Tunnel stairs with bike panniers full of PhD books, with my journey already lengthened due to a lack of crossings, certainly suppressed my cycling to Uni…

So I’ve been able – with help from Anna Goodman – to include the extra scenario cycling potential generated by replacing the ferry with a bridge for those commuters. Our model’s cycling potential depends on the ‘fastest route’ distance and hilliness, so if we instead plug the ‘quieter route’ distance and hilliness for those commuters into our scenario cycling equations, we effectively assume that a bridge exists.

It’s only a small part of the Rotherhithe case study but was an interesting addition. I’ve mainly used the Government Target scenario (being in line with London’s short-ish term targets), incorporated planned growth in the local area, and sense checked against other bridge counts and trends.

Here’s the Rotherhithe case study.