We asked TfL and the Mayor of London to trial Keep Clear or Yellow Box road markings at the most polluted TfL kerbside bus shelters to reduce air pollution exposure for children. They said Yes but TfL have since gone back on their word.
Even though TfL confirm that an idling vehicle produces almost twice the emissions as a moving vehicle, and research continues to confirm that those waiting at a kerbside bus shelter on traffic congested roads are exposed to levels of air pollution that increase the risk of stunted lung & brain growth, TfL will not stop vehicles idling next to children. Here are their reasons why…
It would be unclear to motorists the reasons why the area near a bus stop should be kept clear. Without obvious purpose, there is a high chance that such markings will be ignored.
With the use of “keep clear” and “yellow box” markings at junctions, it is clear as to why those areas should be kept free from obstruction because drivers can see the conflicting traffic movements that would otherwise block the road. A different style of marking would need to be devised (as the purpose of this idea is not to remove conflict), and this would need to be explained to drivers clearly. This means other information, such as an accompanying sign or public information campaign, would be required.
A public information campaign would be costly, and without any proper research to validate the objectives, would be at risk of significant criticism.
Traffic signs and road markings are used to convey information on how a highway should be used with regard to safety, regulations and direction.
The type of marking being proposed in front of bus stops would be seeking to influence road user behaviour and encourage drivers not to idle in front of bus stops. Because there are so many behavioural requirements of road users in The Highway Code, these are not signed or marked as it would lead to a plethora of signs on streets.
Again, to explain what we are asking drivers to do when they encounter these road markings would require an extensive communications campaign.
There are no powers to enforce this restriction. We would have to give consideration as to how this restriction would be applied to vehicles with no emissions or stop-start technology as there would be no need for these vehicles to “keep clear” of the bus stop area. Exemption for such vehicles would result in confusion for drivers whose vehicles were not exempt.
Any proposal for a new road marking would have to apply across the UK, so consideration must be given to whether this is practical and feasible.
Q. Do you believe that these are acceptable reasons not to protect children during what for many is their daily peak exposure to toxic air?
Q. Did you know that TfL get £300m from JCDecaux for using the bus shelters for advertising space?
I will be writing to the Mayor of London tomorrow and will share my response with you.