On Friday 26 August, London became a 24-hour city when an around-the-clock tube service was launched on Fridays and Saturdays on the Victoria line and most of the Central line. According to Transport for London, over 100,000 journeys were completed on the Night Tube during its first weekend.
Analysing the benefits, Enrica Papa wrote in an article published on The Conversation: “Those who already have to move around at night will experience immediate benefits. The tube is faster than taking the bus, walking and cycling, and much cheaper than taxis and Ubers.”
The Senior Lecturer, who teaches in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, also pointed out that employers would have a larger pool of employees to pull from, and more drivers would be able to leave their cars at home which would lead to less emissions, less pollution, less noise and fewer traffic accidents.
However, there can be potential pitfalls that could lead to real problems if not addressed properly, Dr Papa suggests. The detrimental health effects of working night shifts, a decrease in the quality of life for people living around Night Tube stations and the gentrification of these areas are some of them.
The transport expert set out some recommendations to diminish the impact of these factors. She said: “There are a few general principles, which could help London to make the most out of its night tube. The first is to co-ordinate the time and fares of different transport modes, including regional train, bus, cycle schemes, taxis and even airport services. This will improve the overall efficiency of all transport systems, taking the strain off service providers and making logistics easier for travellers.
“Next, decisions about transport and urban land use must balance the need for movement with the importance of sustainability and high-quality of urban spaces. This will ensure that the city stays functional and liveable for decades to come.
“It’s also important to keep thinking about transport on a human level. This goes beyond measuring the impact of changes to the system in terms of time savings and efficiency. It also requires city planners to think about what possibilities different transport systems offer, to meet different passengers' needs. It also means considering how various types of transport can affect local communities.
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