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Greater emphasis must be placed on the social gains from proposed transport schemes, a new report published today from the Centre for London think tank suggests.

‘Fair Access: Towards a transport system for everyone’ says that when preparing business cases in the capital, planners and developers – as well as the Mayor, Transport for London and the boroughs – should consider wider social benefits early on in the process alongside benefits linked to the economy. Priority should also be given, it adds, to inclusive design and investment in active transport.

The report adds that there needs to be a re-evaluation in how investment decisions are made, to help promote positive impacts and reduce inequalities for specific groups and to address inequalities in how transport is provided for certain sections of the community.

Decision makers, the report adds, should define ‘equity’ more broadly, by considering objectives such as promoting inclusion and reducing poverty as well as addressing barriers for those including disabled and elderly people.

Socio-democratic aims such as improving access to opportunities for the unemployed and improving connectivity in areas of high deprivation should also be considered at an early stage of a project.

The report also calls on the Mayor of London to review fare structures, zones and concessions to make the capital’s transport system fairer for all. “Public transport has a huge impact on Londoners’ lives, but the capital's transport system doesn't offer the same benefits to everyone,” said Centre for London’s research manager Silviya Barrett.

“Poorer Londoners struggle with high transport costs, parts of the city – especially on the outskirts – are poorly served by public transport and have a higher reliance on cars and large parts of the network remain inaccessible to disabled and older Londoners.”