What we do
We are guided by the Mayor's Transport Strategy and its target that 80% of all journeys will be made on foot, by cycle or using public transport by 2041.
We use technology and data to make journeys easier. Oyster and contactless payment cards and information in different formats help people move around London.
Live travel information is provided directly by us and through third party organisations which use the data we make available to power apps and other services.
We manage a bus fleet of around 9,300 vehicles operating across 675 routes.
Most bus services in London are run by private operators awarded a contract by us. Bus operators compete for contracts to provide specific services - contracts are managed by our subsidiary company London Bus Services Ltd.
London Bus Services Ltd:
- Plans routes
- Sets service levels
- Monitors service quality
It is also responsible for around 50 bus stations and more than 19,000 bus stops.
A few bus services in London are run commercially and are not part of our competitive tender process. Operators interested in running this type of service need to apply for a London Service Permit.
London Underground, better known as the Tube, has 11 lines covering 402km and serving 272 stations.
The Tube handles up to five million passenger journeys a day. At peak times, there are more than 543 trains whizzing around the Capital.
Managing the Tube
We're in charge of all aspects of the Tube's operations including:
- Running the trains, stations and control centres
- Making sure the Tube is safe and secure
- Collecting and protecting fares revenue
We are also responsible for maintaining and renewing most of the infrastructure, although some services run on Network Rail track.
Our multi-billion pound programme to make Tube services more reliable, frequent and accessible includes introducing new trains, signalling and track, and rebuilding some of the busiest and most complex stations.
Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
The DLR stretches east from Bank and Tower Gateway to Stratford, Beckton, Greenwich, Lewisham, London City Airport and Woolwich Arsenal.
The DLR - opened in 1987 - operates as a driverless, computerised system. We set the specifications for train frequency, performance, fares and revenue. We also plan and fund improvements and extensions to the network.
KeolisAmey Docklands Ltd (KAD) operates trains and stations and maintains much of the network on our behalf. Its current contract expires in 2021.
London Overground is a group of six routes serving many areas of the Capital.
- Richmond and Clapham Junction to Stratford
- Watford Junction to Euston
- Gospel Oak to Barking
- Highbury & Islington to New Cross, Clapham Junction, Crystal Palace and West Croydon
- Liverpool Street to Enfield Town, Cheshunt (via Seven Sisters) and Chingford
- Romford to Upminster
We work with other organisations to manage the London Overground network:
- Arriva Rail London manages the network's stations and trains day-to-day
- Network Rail manages and maintains most of the track and signals - London Overground is part of the National Rail network
We set the specifications for train frequency, station facilities and overall performance, and are responsible for fares and revenue.
The Elizabeth line brought together two sections of railway running as TfL Rail with a new section under central London built by Crossrail Ltd. As of 6 November 2022, customers can travel from the west to Abbey Wood and from the east to Paddington. The full railway will be operational in 2023.
MTR Elizabeth line manages and operates trains and certain stations day-to-day but we set the specifications for train frequency, station facilities and overall performance, and are responsible for fares and revenue.
We manage the Capital's tram network. Services run from Croydon to Wimbledon, Beckenham Junction, Elmers End and New Addington.
There are connections to the Tube, London Overground, bus and National Rail services.
We set the specifications for tram frequency and performance, and are responsible for fares and revenue. We also carry out maintenance and plan and fund improvements and extensions to the network.
Tram Operations Limited (TOL), a subsidiary of First Group, operates trams day-to-day.
Responsibility for managing London's road network is shared between TfL, Highways England, and the 32 London boroughs, plus the City of London.
- We manage the Transport for London Road Network (the TLRN or London's 'red routes') and are responsible for the maintenance, management and operation of the Capital's 6,000+ sets of traffic lights
- Highways England manages the national motorway network, including the M25, M1, M4 and M11
- The London boroughs are responsible for all the remaining roads within their boundaries
We also work with freight operators and other commercial drivers to encourage more efficient deliveries in London.
London's red routes are a network of key routes such as the A40 or A406 (North Circular Road).
Our responsibilities include responding quickly to incidents such as floods and road traffic collisions; repairing defects such as potholes, damaged signs or street lighting; and gritting the roads during the winter.
Traffic control centre
In our Network Management Control Centre (NMCC) we monitor the road network 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Thousands of CCTV cameras let us see how traffic is flowing around the Capital.
We use electronic road signs to alert drivers to disruption and to give advance warning of future disruptions due to roadworks or large events.
We provide live traffic information directly to:
- TV and radio stations (for travel broadcasts)
- Satellite navigation companies such as Tomtom and Trafficmaster
- Other third parties, including web and app developers
We are responsible for all of London's 6,300 traffic lights.
Our traffic controllers are able to change the length of time a light is green or red to clear an unexpected queue and control vehicles moving into an already congested area.
We run a lane rental scheme and charge those carrying out works up to £2,500 a day for working in the most congested areas or at busy times. This encourages work to be completed during quieter times, and more quickly.
Around 88,000 permit applications are assessed each year to ensure that jobs are coordinated to minimise disruption.
London Highways Alliance
The London Highways Alliance (also known under the acronym LoHAC) is a joint initiative between TfL and London's boroughs to collaborate on highway management, both in road maintenance and in the design and construction of new schemes.
We manage eight piers along the Thames:
London River Services (LRS) licenses passenger boat services to use our piers including:
- Scheduled service River Bus and timetabled River Tours
- Ad hoc charter bookings for private hire boats typically used for corporate events or private parties
We also own and operate the Woolwich Ferry boats, terminals and infrastructure.
London Dial-a-Ride is a free door-to-door service for disabled people who can't use buses, trains or the Tube.
It offers bookable journeys between 06:00 and 02:00, 365 days a year.
Coaches and Victoria Coach Station
We represent the interests of visitors to London travelling by coach, as well as ensuring coaches in the Capital have a minimal impact on the road network. To do this, we offer information for coach drivers.
We operate Victoria Coach Station, London's largest coach hub. It is close to Victoria railway station and has excellent links to rail, Tube and buses.
Cycling and walking
Part of our role is encouraging more people to cycle or walk. Our aim is that by 2041, 80% of journeys in London will be made by cycling, walking and public transport. Find out how we're encouraging cycling and walking.
Our cycle hire scheme, Santander Cycles, offers bikes for rent 24 hours a day, in and around central London. The scheme is sponsored by Santander and operated on our behalf by Serco.
The scheme extends from Hammersmith in the west to Poplar in the east and from Brixton in the south to Camden Town in north London. It includes more than 12,000 bikes at around 750 docking stations.
Docking stations are typically about 300-500 metres apart, placed off main roads, near tourist attractions, in parks, and at Tube and rail stations.
The scheme, originally sponsored by Barclays, started in central London in 2010.
Most of the current and planned Cycle Superhighways and Quietways routes are being put together in a single network called 'Cycleways'.
Cycle Superhighways offer more direct ways into and across London. Many of them have segregated sections which separate cyclists from motor traffic, as well as widened footways, new pedestrian crossings and innovative safety improvements at junctions.
Quietways run on less-busy backstreets.
We work with the London boroughs to shape the character of London's streets, with the aim of making London the world's most walkable city.
London Cable Car
London Cable Car is the UK's first urban cable car. It opened on 28 June 2012 and connects the Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks.
In 2022, tech company IFS replaced Dubai-based airline Emirates as the sponsor of the London Cable Car.
- Learn more about the new IFS Cloud Cable Car
Taxis and private hire
We set regulations and policies for taxi (black cab) and private hire (minicab and chauffeur) services to protect customers, and ensure vehicles are safe, accessible and meet strict environmental standards.
We are responsible for licensing all London:
- Taxi drivers and vehicles
- Private hire operators, drivers and vehicles
- Set requirements and standards for licensing
- Set regulated taxi fares
- Work with boroughs to appoint taxi ranks across London
We work closely with the taxi and private hire trades, the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police to ensure the safety of passengers. This includes tackling touting and unlawful plying for hire.
We are also responsible for implementing the Mayor's Taxi and private hire action plan which sets out the transport vision for London between now and 2031.
London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum is the heritage and education charity dedicated to preserving our history and explaining it to museum visitors.
It cares for more than 500,000 items of transport memorabilia, and displays tell the story of transport in the capital over the last 200 years.
Many collections not on display in the main Museum in Covent Garden are stored at the Museum Depot in Acton. The depot opens for special tours and Open Weekends.
The museum runs educational activities for thousands of pupils each year, including free outreach programmes as part of our STARS initiative:
- The Safety and Citizenship programme promotes safe and responsibly travel to school children in London
- The Youth Travel Ambassador scheme which helps engage young people with transport issues
The Museum is funded from visitor admissions, sponsorship and commercial activities. The London Transport Museum shop sells transport-related items to support the museum's work.
Our other business activities include:
- Commercial property development - we try to use our position as one of London's largest landowners to increase business and housing opportunities
- Commercial media - the money generated by advertising to the travelling public will help us keep fares down
- Open data - third party developers make use of our data to create software and services that benefit the travelling public
Looking to the future
Our programme of transport capital investment is one of the world's largest. It is completing the Elizabeth line, modernising Tube services and stations, transforming the road network and making it safer, especially for more vulnerable road users such as people walking and cycling. See how we are funded.