FOI request detail

Park Lane traffic scheme evaluation

Request ID: FOI-0700-2122
Date published: 03 August 2021

You asked

Please could you let me see documents, emails or other information relating to the evaluation or the effectiveness of the traffic scheme on Park Lane (northbound) especially any information about extra pollution caused by the greater congestion and also information relating to usage of the bike Lane.

We answered

TfL Ref: 0700-2122     

Thank you for your request received by Transport for London (TfL) on 7 July 2021 asking for information about the traffic scheme on Park Lane Northbound.

Your requests have been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we hold some of the information you require. You asked: Please could you let me see documents, emails or other information relating to the evaluation or the effectiveness of the traffic scheme on Park Lane (northbound) especially any information about extra pollution caused by the greater congestion and also information relating to usage of the bike Lane.

However, in accordance with section 12 of the FOI Act, we are not obliged to comply with a request if we estimate that the cost of determining whether we hold the information, locating and retrieving it and extracting it from other information would exceed the appropriate limit. This is calculated at £25 per hour for every hour spent on the activities described.  We consider that the cost of complying with your FOI request referred would considerably exceed the cost limit, therefore we are refusing the request.

By way of background, in May 2020 we made a series of temporary changes to Park Lane as part of our London Streetspace Programme.  The programme itself was an emergency response to the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. The changes were to introduce a temporary bi-directional cycle lane on the northbound carriageway, together with a bus lane.  We also reduced the speed limit to 20 mph.  In helping people who could do so to walk or cycle more often, the Streetspace Programme in general and the changes at Park Lane in particular, helped reduce demand for public transport at a time when the capacity of our City’s buses and trains were limited by social distancing.    We have been actively monitoring the use made of the new cycle lane and we are seeing hundreds of cyclists a day using the new cycle lane during the week, more so at weekends.

Since the scheme started,  we have collected data to monitor the effectiveness of the scheme and its impacts.  Consequently, there is no quick or efficient way of locating all of the material that falls within the scope of your request which is quite broad in nature, for example, where you have asked for ‘documents, emails or other information’ relating to the evaluation or effectiveness of the Park Lane traffic scheme, this would include all documents and emails about this subject over a 14 month period. There are a number of teams and individuals across TfL who are involved in the various aspects of the scheme and would hold material potentially relevant to your request, along with other internal stakeholders, for example buses and taxis. In addition, a recent change on site a few weeks ago in itself resulted in a large amount of emails and discussions around this subject.

So, whilst we can run a TfL wide search of all emails which contain a keyword or phrase such as Park Lane’ over the period since the scheme was introduced in May 2020, this will return a vast number of results, all of which would have to be reviewed to see whether they fall within the scope of your request. This alone would trigger the costs limit. It is quite possible that we would need to carry out further searches using other terms to ensure that we had captured absolutely every piece of correspondence we hold, which would increase the number of items that we would need to review. It would also be difficult to determine when we could be satisfied that searches for information held in relation to your request have captured everything we hold. Trying to ascertain exactly what is and is not held in relation to your other questions, and then sourcing it where it is held, would take a considerable amount of extra time.

In order to bring your request within the costs limit you may wish to consider narrowing its scope to focus on the information that is of most importance to you. Before doing so you may wish to review the advice and guidance offered by the Information Commissioner on how best to access information from public bodies, published on its website here (in particular, point you to the table of “Dos and Don’t’s” that can be found halfway down the page):

The narrower and more specific the scope of your request the more likely it is we will be able to respond positively within the costs limit. Please be aware also that the FOI Act pertains to recorded information only. There is no requirement to create new information nor to source information from third parties. In general terms, broad requests asking for any correspondence or documents we hold on a subject often result in the cost limit under FOI being significantly exceeded.

We do hold data on traffic flows from automatic traffic counters on Park Lane southbound and northbound; and on general traffic journey times based on information from Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras southbound on Park Lane and northbound from a link that contains Park Lane but also a significant portion of Edgeware Road. We also hold data on bus journey times from a set of bus corridors that are being monitored along the site and adjacent to the site as follows: Park Lane; Edgeware Road; Grosvenor Place; Knightsbridge and Piccadilly. Both of the general traffic and bus data sets are held from March 2019 to present day.

Cycle data has been obtained from a number of discrete cycle count surveys on different weekdays from September 2020 and then thereafter once every 2 months that compare cycle levels at; Broad Walk, Brook Gate and Stanhope Gate.

Detailed traffic data on congestion at this location is in the process of being prepared and is awaiting resolution by the supplier of a fault in the data that we need to use for this purpose, as the data from our ANPR cameras is not suitable to do this at this particular location.

We have produced a presentation which contains a recent summary (June 2021) of this monitoring data for the scheme which we could provide if you submit a revised request.

Please note that we have not monitored pollution levels in or around the area since the scheme has been delivered, but some Boroughs such as Westminster may collect data at some locations. You can contact Westminster to request any information they may hold using the following link:

If you want to refine your request or make a Freedom of Information Act request in future, please bear in mind that the Freedom of Information Act allows you to request recorded information held by us. You should identify the information that you want as clearly and concisely as you can, specifying the types of document that you are looking for. Although your request can take the form of a question, rather than a request for specific documents, we do not have to answer your question if it would require the creation of new information or the provision of a judgement, explanation, advice or opinion that was not already recorded at the time of your request.

As London continues to recover from the Covid-19 Pandemic, we will need to consider whether the temporary changes we introduced to Park Lane last spring should remain in place in the longer term. In doing so we will take into account the data we have collected of the effects of the scheme over time, and views from people and other stakeholders. 

If we believe that there may be a case for retaining the changes permanently, we will consult widely before making a decision.  As soon as we are in a position to do so, we will announce what we think the future of the Park Lane changes should be. You may be interested in the following link which provides detail about air quality in London:

Please note that we will not be taking further action until we receive your revised request.   In the meantime, if you have any queries or would like to discuss your request, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Sara Thomas
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

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