Inspired Ethonomics: London’s Transportation Transformation for the 2012 Olympics

Congestion pricing has been a huge success in London–reducing traffic and making money for the city. What’s more, it challenges the notion that cities should be designed around cars rather than people. But as we’ll learn in this episode of e2, congestion pricing is the core of a much more sweeping vision that could transform London into a transit-efficient and pedestrian-friendly megacity in time for the 2012 Olympic games.




Ricky Burdett (Chief Design Advisor, Olympic Delivery Authority): Three or four generations ago, the beginning of the 20th Century, 90% of the world lived in the countryside only 10%, lived in the city. That number has changed, and as we now know the majority now live in cities. And if that continues we could be in a situation that 75% of the world’s population could be living in cities. Therefore a small change in the amount of energy consumed by cities and the amount of pollution that they cause, the amount of CO2 that they emit, can make a massive impact on the climate change for the planet.

Nicky Gavron (Deputy Mayor of London 2004-2008): If we don’t reverse the trend in green house gas emissions in cities, we literally don’t save the planet. Moreover we’re very vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. You name it, droughts, floods, heat waves, rising sea levels, many many of the worlds biggest cities are on coastal estuaries.

Brad Pitt: In 2005 mayors from 18 of the world’s largest cities met in London to find ways of working together to fight climate change. It was the beginning of what’s known today as C40.

Philipp Rode (Executive Director, Urban Age Project, London School of Economics): London really has informed the debate, it has been very active in setting up a worldwide network of cities called C40 and this organization is really trying to bring together these innovative efforts on the city level of city mayors to advance the climate change agenda.

Peter Hendy (Commissioner, Transport for London): The world’s cities are already leading world nations in this, the city leaders the C40 group has come together very strongly, to save climate change it has to be tackled in city. Some of the things we’ve done here are groundbreaking, for example looking at low energy consumption from the tube. We introduced some hydrogen buses in conjunction with 10 other cities in Europe and throughout the world. Lessons from that introduction will go into the next generation; probably the third generation will be affordable and that’s where we want to be. Some of lessons you can move even further, even faster by working together than you can separately; certainly sharing the knowledge is increasingly important.


Brad Pitt: That knowledge, is not only being shared by the 40 cities involved, but also with other like minded groups to maximize its impact.

Nicky Gavron (Deputy Mayor of London 2004-2008): In order to scale up our efforts we’ve partnered with the Clinton Foundation, who has set up the Clinton Climate Initiative to work with us on that. Former President Clinton announced the first Clinton Climate Initiative procurement package, which is an energy efficiency building retrofit program.

John So (Mayor Melbourne): I recently attended the C40 summit in New York, where Melbourne joined with the other cities, joined the Clinton Climate Initiative, to retrofit our existing buildings at the moment. Now the council is looking at retrofitting our buildings to achieve a very high green building rating.

Nicky Gavron (Deputy Mayor of London 2004-2008): What we’re talking about is 80% of the savings being given over to pay the upfront costs of making the buildings energy efficient. If the costs aren’t met by those savings then the banks underwrite. So it’s a win win all around, and it could make a huge difference for cities around the world. And there are more packages like that in the pipeline.

Oh See Hon (Mayor, Seoul): And a follow-up meeting will be held here in Seoul in 2009. I believe that more mayors around the world will participate in this meeting. I expect to see a very effective declaration to address this climate change issue in the summit that will be held here

Brad Pitt: But C40 is more than just about words


Nicky Gavron (Deputy Mayor of London 2004-2008): Its about cutting carbon together, and working on exchanges of best practices, getting ideas from each other and combining together on procurement alliances, huge purchasing power, bringing down the price on new technology. And we think we can capitalize markets and possible reconfigure global markets that way. And of course I think it will be very useful for the companies themselves, especially cutting edge, new leapfrog technologies, because in fact if they can be assured of the demand and because they know the demand will be there, they’ll invest. So it helps both the supply and the demand.

Brad Pitt: The massive purchasing power the C40 cities hold could help forge a new economy around emerging energy technologies. But the challenges are huge, and the outcome far from certain.

Oh See Hon (Mayor, Seoul): In order to make something that seems impossible possible, we first need to start. This task is certainly a very daunting task for all of us, however there is a Korean saying that goes: If you have started, you are halfway through.

To view more digital short from the e2 series:
Portland, a Global Model of Transit-Oriented Development

Seoul ReEngineers a Freeway into a Stream