When I first heard of the new ‘cycle super highways’ that run into central London from the suburbs, my first reaction was to compare and contrast the achievements of our newt loving former mayor Ken Livingstone with those of the incumbent Boris Johnson.
In the red corner we have Ken. A bit foul-mouthed, a bit bossy. But he introduced the first major stand against the hegemony of the automobile by any major city in the world: The Congestion Charge. It needed sharp political instincts to bulldoze it through, a commitment of hundreds of millions of pounds in new technology and the willingness to upset large swathes of the electorate.
There was another world first in the Oyster card, a ground-breaking automated transport ticket with the potential to become an electronic currency holder. (more…)