Remaining bold: Partnering for a liveable and sustainable London
14 August 2019
London has an exciting history as a center of creativity and innovation, a convergence of cultural, academic and economic influence, but the changes I see each time I visit are undeniable. Especially so in the last few years.
The Romans founded London about 50AD. Its name is derived from the Celtic word Londinios, which means the place of the bold one. True to its heritage, London has always led the way when it comes to pioneering bold initiatives and although we instinctively look to the future when we speak about today’s global cities, London’s history is hugely important in understanding how it continues to rise to its challenges.
The industrial revolution drew millions of people to London. Just like today, those people were spurred by the prospect of jobs, education and a better life. In 2019, this promise drives an even faster growing population, coupled with strained resources and a global climate crisis.
In response, London is increasingly focused on managing its environmental footprint and creating sustainable models that aid economic growth, foster inclusion and improve efficiencies.
Five years ago, with the support of Mastercard and Cubic Transportation Systems, Transport for London (TfL) led the world in introducing contactless technology on the city’s transport network, eliminating the need for consumers to top-up or buy tickets. TfL now sees more than 21.6 million journeys per week using contactless cards – accounting for around 55% of all Pay As You Go trips on the TfL services and commuter rail.TfL’s cost of collecting fares has decreased from 14% of revenues to around 9%, generating big efficiency gains for London’s mobility system. They have quantified contactless payments contributing to savings of more than £100M annually.
Over 150 cities around the world – most recently New York City – have since followed London’s model to make it easier for people to access public transportation.
There is still more to be done. A recent study from the Centre for London recommends the creation of an integrated transport charging model as a sustainable and efficient way for London to tackle its challenge of moving millions of people around the city. Helping residents and visitors plan, book and buy their journeys through one digital platform will reduce complexity and inform people of the environmental impact of their travel. Innovative approaches like this will help promote better transport equity, tackle city-wide air pollution and create a healthier, more liveable London.
Bringing about change of this scale cannot be done alone, it requires collaboration between both the public and private sector. This spirit of partnership is the inspiration that fuels City Possible, a global partnership and co-creation framework pioneered by Mastercard. In today’s world, where cities are experiencing new types of common challenges, the bold way is to work together rather than go it alone.
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