Background

I live in London. I love London. It has a sprawling comlexity to keep one amused for many hours, such that there is so much to learn. One of my favourite facts is that there are no roads in London. This is, surprisingly, true. But only because "London" in this case means the City of London. It's true because the City was already formed by the mid 1600's, when the word is thought to have originated.

But how many roads are there in Greater London?

Armed with a 773 MB XML file from OpenStreetMap I wrote some tools that let me investigate.

Road names

If you split each road into two elements, the place name, and the type (e.g. road, street) the top ten types are:

  • road : 2439 times
  • street : 1485 times
  • close : 394 times
  • avenue : 379 times
  • place : 338 times
  • lane : 316 times
  • way : 236 times
  • gardens : 212 times
  • square : 194 times
  • walk : 140 times
  • mews : 140 times
NOTE: this is only reporting 'add:street' tags, which I fear may be inaccurate. One should use the highways tags, but the same highway can be represented with multiple tags, so the same road would be counted twice. Looking further down the list, there are 9 circuses:
  • Arnold
  • Cambridge
  • Finsbury
  • Holborn
  • Ludgate
  • Oldfields
  • Oxford
  • Piccadilly
  • Westferry

There are several instances where only one type appears: Sanctuary, Polygon, and Folgate.

ATM, my parsing is a little rough, and the data is a little dirty (there's typos of 'parage' and 'parafe' in there) so I'm not confident about my other results. But there's about 110 roads with a single element: like Aldersgate, Dockhead, and Strand.

Amenities

Probably the most important research was in the number of pubs: 2204.

Here's the list of every pub in London. (Sorted from most common, to least.)

Is Uxbridge Road the booziest in London? There are 6 pubs along its length. Nods to Hertford Road, with 5. Of the several with 5 pubs include York Way, Streatham High Road, Kennington Road, and Bethnal Green Road. Naturally, there are lots on 'High Street', but they are different roads.

Here's the List of booziest roads in London

As for the most popular pub names, the list is exactly what you'd expect:

  • 18 : The Crown
  • 14 : The Red Lion
  • 12 : Prince of Wales
  • 12 : All Bar One
  • 12 : The Plough
  • 12 : The Railway
  • 12 : The Royal Oak
  • 11 : The Windmill
  • 11 : The Beehive
  • 11 : The Victoria

Tube stations

I then looked at tube stations, and the number of letters within them. The longest single word stations are:

  • 18 : Harrow-on-the-hill
  • 14 : Bromley-by-Bow
  • 13 : Rickmansworth
  • 13 : Knightsbridge
  • 11 : Westminster
  • 11 : Southfields
  • 11 : Snaresbrook
  • 11 : Rotherhithe
  • 11 : Northfields
  • 11 : Leytonstone
  • 11 : Hammersmith
  • 11 : Gunnersbury
  • 11 : Cockfosters
  • 11 : Chorleywood
  • 11 : Blackfriars
  • 11 : Barkingside
Here's the full list of letters in tube names.

If you include all the letters, then Heathrow is an easy winner (because of the two commas), although Highbury & Islington moves up a couple of places if you write it as 'Highbury and Islington'.

  • 22 : Heathrow Terminals 1, 2, 3
  • 20 : High Street Kensington
  • 19 : Great Portland Street
  • 18 : Walthamstow Central
  • 18 : Tottenham Court Road
  • 18 : Mornington Crescent
  • 18 : Highbury & Islington
  • 18 : Harrow-on-the-hill
Here's the full list of letters in tube names.

The most abundant letter combinations are single words with 8 letters (there's 25 of them) and the 18 stations with 18 letters. The most common two word stations have 7,4 letters. There's 17 of those:

  • Wembley Park
  • Tufnell Park
  • Theydon Bois
  • Sudbury Town
  • Sudbury Hill
  • Rayners Lane
  • Queen's Park
  • Preston Road
  • Newbury Park
  • Latimer Road
  • Kilburn Park
  • Kentish Town
  • Holland Park
  • Edgware Road
  • Canning Town
  • Belsize Park
  • Aldgate East
Oh, and the most common second element of a tube station name is 'Park', with 23 appearances, followed by Road (11), Green (9) and Street (8).

Here's the full list of second element tube names.

And to finish up, here's the full list of tube stations with a single name. Although I'm never sure if hypenated words count.