There are 2,661,026 cars in London. The Mayor’s target for car ownership is for there to be 250,000 fewer cars registered in London by 2041. That equates to 12,500 fewer cars each year for 20 years. But our data shows just 168 fewer cars registered in London, comparing the 2019 and 2020 data.
TfL’s Streetspace for London Covid19 crisis plans include by-borough assessments of who owns and uses a car and the risk of increased car use. Surveys indicate that a third of UK residents are likely to increase their car-use post crisis. We don’t know yet how car ownership and use will play out in London as the crisis passes, but London boroughs will need to do a lot more, rapidly, to enable their residents to live car-free lives to avoid major rises in congestion and the resulting impacts.
Last year we used data for the average number of cars registered per household to create a score for ‘car ownership’ for each borough. This year we have used both ‘average number of cars per household’ AND ‘proportion of households with no car’. Boroughs score better if (a) they have a lower average number of cars per household and (b) they have a higher proportion of households with no car. (See below for an explanation of the interplay between the two indicators.)
Cars per household
The number of cars registered in London has remained more or less the same. But the number of households in London has increased, so the average number of cars has decreased slightly from 76 to 75 cars per 100 households. (In 2018 London had 3,513,589 households and there were 2,661,194 cars registered. In 2019 there were 3,544,727 households and 2,661,026 cars registered.)
There are very significant differences in car ownership levels between boroughs. Islington has the lowest level with just 35 cars registered for every 100 households and Tower Hamlets and Hackney close behind with just 36. At the other end of the scale, Hillingdon has the highest level with 127 cars registered for every 100 households, five other boroughs have more than 100 cars for every 100 households (Bromley, Sutton, Bexley, Havering, Harrow). Sixteen London boroughs (roughly half) have over 80 cars registered per 100 households.