Traffic levels: Heavy increases in Greenwich

If you think traffic has increased in recent years then traffic counts back it up as measurements at 120 locations in Greenwich borough show sharply increasing levels of traffic in recent years.

Traffic levels from 1993

Greenwich saw modest growth in vehicles using roads from 1993 to 2004, and then traffic started to decline. It was around this time service improvements for public transport took hold. Frequencies on rail lines increased as did many bus services.

Car centric retail has increased – this is Charlton

After reductions in vehicle usage and then a plateau, traffic has increased sharply since 2016.

Greenwich traffic

It was around 2016 that cuts to public transport begun to accelerate. TfL saw £700 million cut from annual budgets by then Chancellor George Osborne in 2015. Southeastern rail entered a perpetual limbo after failed franchise competitions as investment stagnated.

Bus use decimated after March and still far below previous levels

Of course we then enter the recent “perfect storm” with public transport use heavily restricted and roads already near capacity in many areas.

Traffic queuing in Woolwich

Current fierce arguments centre around do little to streets or attempt to encourage people away from car use where possible.

The latter is causing many arguments across London and beyond (a sharp increase in vehicle use has been seen in much of the country over recent years).

It’s a backdrop of sharply rising vehicle use that gives context to current policy on how people will get about in years to come, and one that will result in disruption with or without street changes. The question now is what result is desirable at the end of it all?

Click here for data on vehicle counts across the borough.




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J Smith

I've lived in south east London most of my life growing up in Greenwich borough and working in the area for many years. The site has contributors on occasion and we cover many different topics. Living and working in the area offers an insight into what is happening locally.

7 thoughts on “Traffic levels: Heavy increases in Greenwich

  • I came through Greenwich yesterday on the 177 heading towards Woolwich and it took maybe 15 to 20 minutes. We all talk about stupidity well there we have someone giving a fine example. Rather than makibg provision for changing traffic…changing fashions in travel…we have a Council who want to tell us how and where we can travel….madness personified

  • Seens to me that lots of the traffic comes out of the Rotherhithe Tunnel and turns left as there are no fast roads taking that traffic away southwards…anyone driving Eastwards through New Cross and having missed the Blackwall Tunnel turn off…takes the route through Greenwich to meet the Blackwall Tunnel entry…there are solutions but squeezing the toothpaste tube through Greenwich is the most stupid one

  • Roy – there are no provisions for such vast increases without demolishing half of the city for wider roads. We tried a lot of that in the 60s – and how did that go? Take a look at blighted east Greenwich and the flyover for a clue.

    That 177 is was getting stuck in ever more traffic anyway – and at those growth rates would be going nowhere fast in 5-10 years time (then you add in Silvertown Tunnel…)

    Short term impacts will have to happen to change things for the next 20+ years without everything grinding to a halt forever more.

    Cities and unfettered car use are not compatible.

  • I drove along Woolwich Road on Sunday with the intention of turning right into Denham Street, but found myself being faced with coming traffic in the right turn lane. Doubtless there is now a no right turn sign, but it was a scary moment until my brain sorted out what was happening.

  • What is the data for before and after these new works: pedestrians, cycles, buses, cars, emergency vehicles? I walked from Blackwall lane to the Woolwich Road fly over today at 9.30 am and despite the existing cycle lane being expanded to two lanes saw only 3 cyclists during this time, 1 on the now usable route and 2 using the pavement. I am going to take my family cycling along these new paths as cars and buses will take forever, wonder how all the speed racers will get passed us, on the pavement?

  • From the graph it looks as though about 0.6 billion out of 0.8 billion miles were driven in cars and taxis in Greenwich borough in 2019. Does that mean 75% of journeys in motorised vehicles in the borough were unnecessary or avoidable?

  • The closure of so many roads and COVID related width restrictions has completely fouled up the area. I tried to drive from Blackheath to Greenwich a couple of days ago via Crooms Hill and gave up completely. Likewise the area around Lee is another disaster area. How can this be early in the afternoon.


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