London’s success has long been determined and shaped by its connectivity.

Robust international and domestic transport links make it one of the most accessible cities in the world. This has helped facilitate the successful export of skills and knowledge, whilst also attracting talent and investment from around the globe.

By the 2020s there are likely to be more Londoners than at any time in the city’s history(1).
To meet this demand, London’s transport infrastructure and connectivity will need to continue to develop.


London is the central hub for the UK’s rail, air and road networks. London’s public transport services are managed by Transport for London (TfL) including the Underground, buses, Tramlink, the Docklands Light Railway, London River Services and London Overground. TfL also oversees most major roads in London which enables a truly integrated approach to how people, goods and services move around the city.

London bus passengers every day
Annual international air passengers
Daily bicycle journeys

Creating Capacity

The demands on the capital’s transport systems are considerable. The current facilities work well and to support the city’s evolving needs, investment in increased capacity and connections has been earmarked.

Significant investment is already committed. The ‘London Infrastructure Plan 2050’ outlines the spending needed for the capital to remain one of the world’s leading cities. For example, £913 million has been allocated to developing a ten-year cycling vision which will include the construction of four new segregated Cycle Superhighways and upgrades to the existing routes. Likewise, significant investment will go towards Crossrail and Tube extensions as well as towards enhancing existing underground and rail routes.

Key transport schemes committed to or in planning schemes include

Crossrail I  (opens in 2018)

will provide a high frequency, high capacity service to 40 stations running from Reading and Heathrow in the west, to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east (2).

Crossrail 2 (potential completion 2030s)

Proposed scheme that would provide a further increase in capacity. It would directly link Hackney to St. Pancras and Euston (serving HS2), Tottenham Court Road (for Crossrail), Victoria and Wimbledon (3).

High Speed 2 (HS2) (planning stage, delivery estimated 2026)

HS2 would be the second high speed rail route in the UK, with phase one linking London to Birmingham. The HS2 line will travel under sections of West London, with a proposed hub station either situated on the Great Western main line or at Heathrow.

Thameslink Upgrade Programme (expected completion by 2018)
A £6.5bn government-sponsored programme that will deliver enhanced north-south cross-London rail capacity, linking key transport hubs at King’s Cross, Blackfriars and London Bridge, and enabling more through journeys and improved interchanges at both King’s Cross and London Bridge.

Other projects include:

Metropolitan line extension: 2017
Northern line extension: 2020
Bakerloo line: possible extension 2030s (initial stages)

Airport expansion

London currently ranks among the best cities in the world for air connectivity, and the debate on how to maintain this in the future is ongoing.

The Airports Commission has highlighted three options: a third runway at Heathrow, lengthening an existing runway at Heathrow, or a second runway at Gatwick. The commission is due to submit a final report to the government in mid-2015 setting out recommendations for additional runway capacity.

Top 10 cities for air connectivity

Cycling Highways

The number of people living in London who cycle to work more than doubled from 77,000 in 2001 to 155,000 in 2011 (4). There are plans to deliver 200km of new cycle highways by 2050 making getting around easier and meaning London will be among Europe’s most cycle friendly cities (5).

London: Number of residents (16-74) cycling to work

Source: Census 2011

Digital Connectivity

As well as transport, improving London’s digital connectivity will be crucial to support future business growth. The London Infrastructure Plan 2050 rightly highlights digital connectivity as a high priority.

The Mayor of London has put in place a comprehensive action plan to address the challenges of connectivity provision in London. This includes a voucher scheme programme offering SME’s financial support for the installation of superfast broadband, the roll out of wireless infrastructure using publicly owned buildings, and the launch of a Connectivity Rating Scheme for London.

“London was the natural place to come. We believe Tech City is the right place for us to be in Europe as it has been singled out as one of the continent’s most important tech hubs in Wired magazine’s annual list of most promising businesses. London also has excellent national and international travel links which is helping us grow our UK business and expand across Europe.”