Together with Transport for London (TfL), we’ve helped to make the Mayoral vision for London’s transport infrastructure a reality – tackling their biggest challenges and enabling 34 million people around the UK to travel safely, efficiently and sustainably. Our work with TfL has also helped to halve harmful nitrogen oxide emissions in London since 2019 and keep the capital’s road network running more smoothly and safely.
Managing the pressures of increasing pollution: congestion charge and the ULEZ scheme
Air quality in the capital has been a source of health and environmental concern for decades. London’s high-profile congestion charging scheme has been instrumental in reducing traffic – and thus air pollution – as well as facilitating inner-city transport. It also enables TfL to reinvest in the transport network and keep London moving.
On behalf of TfL, Capita implemented and manages the congestion charge and all of its associated operations – from upfront payments and customer services to enforcement and penalty charge notices (PCNs). Not only does this reduce the amount of traffic in the city’s centre, making journeys quicker and easier; fewer vehicles on the roads make for better air quality and a safer environment for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.
The Congestion Charge scheme works hand-in-hand with the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) – the former reducing traffic in general and the latter designed to keep numbers of high-emissions vehicles on our roads to a minimum. #NOₓ (nitrogen oxide) emissions in central London were recently reported to be 44% lower than what they would have been further protecting citizens from harmful levels of pollution.
By charging drivers a premium to discourage the use of these older, dirty vehicles, ULEZ is a vital contributor to the city’s wider clean air initiative.. From our years of providing customer-facing collection services, we’ve learnt that offering a range of different customer contact and payment collection channels increases collection rates – so as part of the ULEZ go-live, we introduced a mobile pay app, allowing customers to pay when and where it suits them. In managing ULEZ, we handle 4,000 calls and over 12,000 payments a day, with a over 90% of early compliance.
As well as being a technical success, the scheme demonstrates how technology can be applied to address climate change. The ULEZ has brought about a fundamental change in road-users’ behaviour: More than 90% of vehicles in the zone now meet the standard and the number of people exploring sustainable travel options has risen substantially. In October 2021, Capita and TfL expanded ULEZ up to London’s North Circular and South Circular roads.
Through these two initiatives, London has become a healthier, greener place. Children at 400 schools now benefit from improved quality in the air that they breathe.
Improving road safety: the Direct Vision Standard
In March 2021, with the support of London councils, we helped introduce the Direct Vision Standard (DVS) scheme, part of the Mayor of London's Vision Zero plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London's streets by 2041.
Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) make up the most dangerous component of traffic: despite accounting for only 3% of the miles driven in London from 2018-20, these vehicles were involved in 41% of fatal collisions involving cyclists and 19% of those involving pedestrians during that period, making HGVs five times more likely than any other type of vehicle to be involved in a collision resulting in a fatality, relative to their share of traffic.
The DVS exists to ensure that drivers of large vehicles have adequate visibility through the windows of their cabs. It measures how much a driver can see directly, and thus the level of risk their vehicle may pose to vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists, etc – nearby.
Vehicles over 12 tonnes that fall below the Standard must be equipped with Safe System improvements to qualify for a valid permit to operate within Greater London, and unlicensed vehicles face a PCN of up to £550. Thanks to this scheme, more than 282,000HGVs now have a safety permit.
Providing 24/7 services: the area-wide network scheme
To reduce emissions and improve the city’s air quality, it’s crucial that people are encouraged to travel sustainably – by utilising more public transport and taking fewer private car journeys.
Capita’s data network infrastructure enables London Underground to continue running, from stations to back-office functions. We refreshed the network on behalf of TfL and now manage it, monitor it and provide preventative maintenance which enables the Tube to run smoothly. Our network handles everything from payments via Oyster card to TFL’s email system,voice network,invoicing,payroll and more.Subsequently the service was enhanced to include wi-fi connectivity in stations and on the Jubilee Line, the first cellular and mobile network of its kind in the UK.
This connectivity improves the journey experience for passengers, enabling them to travel safely, efficiently and sustainably. Without the data network it would be impossible for the Underground to successfully operate more than 100 million passenger journeys every month."
Gavin Dunkley, Managing Director, Capita TfL Road User and Emissions Charging
Our data capabilities play a role in road users’ journeys, too. To enable the ULEZ to go live, we made over 1,400 changes and refinements to improve underlying systems and processes, delivered a full-scale upgrade of the IT infrastructure and enhanced camera capture and detection, billing and payments, customer contact and automated enquiry services, database and evidence storage and PCN enforcement. We brought our digital transformation experience to bear in managing the complex levels of integration between our managed IT systems and those run by third-party organisations, such as the automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system.
In 2021, our contract with TfL expanded to include network support for the organisation’s surface transport assets, including traffic lights, CCTV and Congestion Charge cameras. Almost every set of traffic lights within London is attached to a network that enables them to be intelligently controlled. In the event of congestion in one area of the traffic network, TfL can intervene and change the profile of those lights to alleviate jams and help traffic to move more freely.
Our work contributes to and enables an efficient and effective transport network to operate within one of the world’s largest cities.
Find out more about how we keep transport networks safe, sustainable and efficient: