A new team of enforcement officers are being deployed at key junctions across London to crack down on illegal or inconsiderate behaviour and other problems that cause congestion.
The 40-strong Transport for London (TfL) team - that will rise to 80 by next spring - will help deal with problems such as illegal stopping or unloading of deliveries, which can cause delays to drivers and bus passengers.
It will work closely with the TfL-funded Metropolitan Police Roads and Transport Policing Command, which was launched by the Mayor of London in January. Its 2,300 officers makes it the largest policing command anywhere in the country.
The team of road and transport enforcement officers will help to move unlawfully stopped vehicles, issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to illegally parked vehicles and clear unnecessary or poorly set-up roadworks.
Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “They will play a key role in tackling problems that lead to tailbacks and take a zero-tolerance approach towards inconsiderate or illegal behaviour that can cause unnecessary gridlock.”
It is the first time that TfL will have its own officers who will have the power to direct traffic around congestion on London's roads. This includes issues such as breakdowns and collisions. They will also access real time information and data and send intelligence back from the street to TfL’s control room.
The ten key locations the team will be deployed are on roads that between them carry 110 different bus routes and are used by half a million bus passengers, in addition to 300,000 car and taxi passenger journeys every day.
The team will be alerted to congestion build ups both through TfL’s network of traffic cameras and through utilising the ‘eyes and ears’ of the almost 25,000 bus drivers, who are calling in any issues to the TfL control room so that they can be reacted to swiftly and intelligence can be analysed to prevent problems from recurring.
In addition, they will work with businesses along the routes to help improve the way they receive and manage deliveries, giving advice on re-timing or consolidation to reduce the impact of deliveries during peak times.
Leon Daniels, TfL’s managing director of Surface Transport, said: “This new team of officers is being deployed to actively solve the problems that cause delays for drivers and bus passengers.
“We work hard to keep London’s traffic moving every day. Having more people on the ground will deliver an even better service to all of London’s road users.”
TfL is already taking a similar zero tolerance approach to issues that cause congestion at the Blackwall Tunnel. In 2010, alongside the Metropolitan Police and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), a dedicated enforcement presence was established as well as additional over-height vehicle detection equipment and penalties for drivers running out of fuel and causing unnecessary delays.
Since starting the initiative, there has been a 32% reduction in collisions, incidents and events causing congestion at Blackwall Tunnel.
TfL’s open data policy also enables app developers to access real time data feeds on current disruptions and planned works, as well as traffic cameras across the road network, to produce travel information apps to help road users be able to plan their journeys and avoid disruption.