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Delivering London's new east to west railway sustainably


By 2030 the capital’s population is set to reach 10 million. Its transport system must be ready to service this increasing demand. This project is a key part of the UK’s plan to maintain London’s place as a world-class city by supporting considerable growth and maintaining the highest standards in urban transportation.

Crossrail is the first project of this scale to consider sustainability from the beginning and embed sustainable thinking into its decision making. This summary reflects on the sustainable achievements of the project. In depth case studies about each of the sustainability initiatives outlined are available on Crossrail’s Learning Legacy website to for the benefit of future projects and industry.

Crossrail published the sustainability strategy in 2009 as construction of the Elizabeth line began at the Canary Wharf site. The strategy set a path to ensure Crossrail would make a positive contribution to the UK by promoting sustainable transport choices and supporting a sustainable pattern of growth in London and the South East. It presented an overview of the benefits the new railway will bring to passengers and the city when it becomes operational and the sustainable delivery of the new railway project looking at its design, construction and future provision for sustainable operation.

The strategy set a holistic approach aimed at delivering economic, environmental and social sustainability improvements in the UK. It also set seven sustainability themes that were aligned to its two sponsors, Transport for London and the Department for Transport.

Key sustainability initiatives were identified and objectives and targets were set where possible. Where there were no available relevant benchmarks, the approach was to either use informed judgement to select a nominal target, or an objective was set with a view to observe what could be achieved and provide benchmark data for later projects to use. Each initiative would work towards delivering a sustainable railway.

Crossrail’s sustainability performance is told through the well understood themes of social, economic and environmental sustainability and is designed to meet the aspirations of our joint sponsors (Transport for London and Department for Transport), stakeholders and future passengers.