Crossrail is an example of how urban change has created integrated transport opportunities. This is one of a collection of four case studies covering social, economic and environmental opportunities resulting from urban change in London.

Crossrail Case Study – Transport in London

London has a  comprehensive, integrated travel system. This is a network of transport systems which link to one another to increase the use of public transport to help reduce traffic congestion and CO2 emissions;

London Underground – the new Elizabeth line links central London to the Suburbs, encouraging more people to use public transport.

Oyster Card is a travel payment method that people can use on buses, trains and tubes quickly and efficiently; you can now use a bank card.

Congestion Charging Zone – A £15 daily fee to any vehicle travelling in central London between 7 am and 6 pm, Monday to Friday and 12-6 pm on weekends.  This encourages more people to use public transport.

Bike sharing scheme – Self-hire bikes are available in many public places in London for as little as free for 30 mins. This has encouraged many people to cycle rather than drive, reducing traffic congestion.

Why is there a need for improved transport in London?

London’s transport system is well-integrated but struggles to keep up with the increasing number of passengers due to population growth and more work opportunities. Public transportation is preferred as most Londoners cannot rely on driving due to limited parking and traffic congestion. In 2014, approximately 75 million people used underground trains and buses in London per week, which continues to rise yearly.

Transport improvements in London

The demand for public transportation is predicted to increase by 60 per cent by 2050, making long-term planning and investment essential.

Launched in 2022, Crossrail is a recently built rail system that spans from east to west London and connects Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east with Reading and Heathrow in the west. Upon completion, the rail system, renamed the Elizabeth line, runs underground through the city centre. It is expected to decrease travel times and bolster overall passenger capacity.



Plans for Crossrail 2 are already in motion, with a projected timeline of 2030. This second project would involve constructing a north-south rail system across London that is similar in scope and design to the first.

What could the impacts of Crossrail be for London?

Crossrail, one of the largest infrastructure projects in London’s history, is expected to deliver numerous advantages, including:

  • Significantly reducing journey times, such as the trip from Liverpool Street to Heathrow, which will decrease from over an hour to just 35 minutes.
  • Raising the number of rail passenger journeys in London by 200 million annually, resulting in a ten per cent increase.
  • Enabling an extra 1.5 million individuals to commute to work in central London within a 45-minute timeframe. • Improving the transportation system in London by providing more connections with the Underground network.
  • Boosting property values by approximately 25% in areas around stations along the Crossrail path.
  • Stimulating further regeneration throughout London, providing access to thousands of additional employment opportunities.
  • Enhancing accessibility for disabled individuals to new stations. There are no stairs from the platform to the street level.
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