5. Issues of feasibility
5.1 Traffic diversions
When introducing a separated tramway traffic diversions become necessary. These include private car traffic, delivery by goods vehicles and other public transport modes, mainly buses and taxis. On Oxford Street there are only buses, taxis and delivery vehicles so that no provision must be made for other sorts of traffic. Since the scheme comprises full pedestrianisation of Oxford Street no other motorised traffic will be allowed anymore. The diversion of bus services will be looked at in section 6.
Major opposition can be expected from the taxi lobby because taxis will no longer have access to Oxford Street. Instead it is planned that access is solely by tram with connections to taxi ranks at the major interchanges Marble Arch, St. Giles Circus and Trafalgar Square. This will of course cause some inconvenience to shopper who usually use taxis but will probably be outweighed be improved overall conditions for all shoppers.
Access for goods deliveries must be restricted to the morning hours in the beginning but should be reduced to a minimum. Most important is that parked goods vehicles do not block trams. As soon as possible all shops should make provision for back door delivery, which is an absolute must for a fully pedestrianised area.
5.2 Environmental impacts
Two groups of environmental impacts can be distinguished. First there are the impacts during construction work due to pollution and noise from the construction, impacts of traffic diversions on the whole area and the effects on the local businesses due to closures of foot-ways and roads. Secondly after implementation of the scheme there are pollution, noise and visual impacts that must be compared with the situation before implementation. The environmental impacts on Oxford Street of the scheme will be looked at in section 7.
Environmental impacts during construction work can currently be experienced in Croydon where construction of Tramlink is underway. Mitigation of the impacts includes the protection of wildlife and buildings as well as co-operation with local businesses and neighbourhood in order to minimise disruption and annoyance in the daily life.
5.3 Planning and funding
Concerning the issue of planning and funding there are forthcoming changes in London over the next years. First there is the inauguration of a London Major and assembly with a new office Transport for London, which will take over responsibility for London Transport from DETR. Secondly there is the proposed privatisation of the operation of London Underground lines. This new office will also co-ordinate the interests of the different London Boroughs and of the entire Greater London area as a whole in the planning stage of new systems.
The degree to which the public sector will be involved in the scheme can be different. In Croydon London Transport and the Borough of Croydon were directly involved during the planning stage in the project development group. In Croydon and in Manchester a DBOM concept was applied for the implementation of the scheme. Since the political desire is to reduce governmental funding to a minimum responsibility is likely to be shifted to the private sector as much as possible. Private contributions of the local businesses towards the complete scheme will become important for capital funding. To what extend the operational costs of the system can be covered by increased revenue or if subsidies are required depends mainly on the question of passenger demand.
5.4 Operation of the system
Operation of the system must be in the context of other London Transport modes. The two possible options are a private operator as for the London buses (following from a DBOM concept) and operation by a subsidiary of London Transport as for the operation of the underground by LUL. But the question of the operator is not essential for co-ordination, as can be seen from London buses. Services and fares must be integrated with the underground and bus network and therefore determined by London Transport. The question of the maintenance depot was raised in section 4.4 and has to be resolved.
5.5 Passenger demand
Passenger demand is important in cost-benefit terms and for the viability of the system. Environmental improvements can be achieved without a tramway and only by pedestrianisation. Whether a tramway is necessary to guarantee proper access to the area must be the subject of a demand model analysis. As a conclusion of such an analysis followed by a cost-benefit analysis it can be decided if a light rail system is justified.
One important factor for this is how the system is extended across the borders of the core route into the outer areas and the role of interchange facilities.