Where is the need for ANPR, Councillor Ali?

So asks Open Our Roads when publishing this graph:

OOR graph of traffic on Auckland Road (one direction only): click to enlarge

One of their own supporters provides an answer: “Why are we playing theyre games? How does showing thousands of cars going through this road help us get rid of this?”

We note the concern about unreasonable volumes. Having said that, we’ll look at a few more complexities.

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed one word appears six times on the graph: “average”. Here’s what average obscures:

  • less traffic on weekends brings down the average
  • daily counts don’t reveal peaks, for example at commuting or pupils going to school times
  • the very nature of rat run roads is that they act as a pressure relief to blockages (accidents/utility repairs/flooding) on main roads when Waze/Google/TomTom send unprecedented levels of traffic onto minor and unclassified roads.

Let’s look at the data in more depth.

Hourly peaks

On Thursday 8 August 2019 (pre-Covid but in the summer holidays), in the hour 12:00 to 13:00, 369 vehicles (in one direction only) passed the Speedvisor. Roughly one vehicle every 10 seconds. Incidentally 66.4% of them were speeding.

On Wednesday 13 March 2019 between the hours of 08:00 and 09:00 there were 470 vehicles recorded. Roughly one car every 7.5 seconds (in one direction only) of which 36.8% were speeding at a time when pupils are going to school.

Rat runs as pressure relief

On Wednesday 19 May 2021 between the hours of 17:00 and 18:00 there were 649 vehicles recorded (in one direction only). Only 29.9% were speeding, but up to twice the speed limit. OOR point out that there were roads works on Goat House Bridge at the time, but this illustrates how the average daily volume of a car every 37 seconds jumps to every 5.5 seconds when Waze/Google/TomTom pumps displaced traffic down a minor road.

Volume appropriate to a ‘C’ road?

If we consider that Auckland Road, at the location of the Speedvisor, is on a bend, with speed bumps and cars parked on both sides of the road effectively making it a single lane, is it appropriate to carry this volume of traffic (more than on some local main roads)? Clearly the OOR supporter quoted above thinks not.

CriteriaMain RoadsAuckland Road
Status‘A’ road‘C’ road
Cycle Route 29
Funded byCentral GovernmentLocal Council
Lanes for moving traffic2 lanes for its entire length allowing cars to pass each other coming from opposite directionsFor much of its length it is effectively single carriageway as vehicles are allowed to park on both sides
Speed limit30mph20mph
Speed bumpsNoneAlong entire length
Other traffic controlsSpeed cameraRestricted width at council boundary; bus gate (previously)
Comparison of our main roads with Auckland Road

Purpose of a Low Traffic Neighbourhood

The benefits of LTNs extend far beyond the improved conditions for people living within them. The main reason everyone in the extended community should support them is that they provide safe passage for all those citizens who want to exchange car to active travel. Note 38.6% of residents within the LTN don’t even possess a car.

Here’s a few benefits:

IssueSolution provided by LTN
Climate changeless emissions
Pollutionmore clean air (Croydon has the highest incidence of asthma in London)
Healthpromote active travel and thus a healthier life-style
Safetyless people killed and injured on our roads
Childrengives them independence in a safe environment
Noisemore peaceful
Businesswalkers and cyclists spend more locally
The benefits of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Some more questions for Croydon Council

Given that we have comprehensively answered OOR’s question for you, we thought we were entitled to ask:

  • do you intend going ahead with the ANPR scheme?
  • when will it be implemented?
  • when will you actively campaign for it in the community?


You can check the data:

Open Our Roads are a local campaign group insisting on their right to drive anywhere despite knowing all the issues (listed above) that over-dependency on cars produces. A good example of what Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport described as the “loudest voice”.

All independent polls show a large majority of the population in favour of controlling traffic.

The Dutch provide an example of what can be achieved by brave municipal authorities.

10 thoughts on “Where is the need for ANPR, Councillor Ali?

  1. Sadly, you well know Auckland Road is indeed a classified road. It is a C-classified road which you can look up for yourselves on Croydon’s website. It is factually incorrect and misleading to keep asserting it is unclassified.


  2. Not all members of Open our roads want the ability to drive everywhere.

    Some of us want a planned LTN not the shambles that Croyden have come up with.

    Yes your quote on rat run is true but you and the council never answer the question of what happens to those cars that are stopped using Aukland Road as a rat run they dont just magically disappear.

    They use anther road and turn it in to a rat run what about those people on that road is it not dangerous for them as well as increased poloution.

    What are you and the council going to do for those people and dont say LTN their road again the cars wont disapear they move onto another road and on and on.

    So what is your overall plan to stop polution and rat runs on all roads.
    As LTN is not going to be possible on all streets and roads.
    So elitism is the answer those that have safer healthier roads and stuff the rest that dont is what I see.
    I would like all the community to benifit not the few.
    So please please do tell me how you and Croyden are going to achoeve this.


    1. Thanks for your contribution Tibor. We recognise that you have valid concerns about rat-run traffic migrating to other residential roads.

      Traffic does just disappear, but not necessarily magically. It is a well studied subject and it is called ‘evaporation’ (see https://shapebetterstreets.org/resources/#evaporation). Basically people give up using their cars and start walking & cycling. This is what happened when the LTN was in place – there was a massive increase in walking.

      We are not Croydon Council, so cannot speak for them, but we do acknowledge that the council had begun to create the beginnings of an integrated cycle way between Crystal Palace and central Croydon (joing up Auckland Road LTN with other LTNs (such as Holmedale) and other traffic-calmed streets.

      Our vision is that ALL residential streets should be traffic-calmed along the lines that Dutch cities and towns are already demonstrating (see https://shapebetterstreets.org/resources/#europe).

      We also campaign to reduce traffic massively on all roads. In Croydon over 50% of journeys are less than 3km. It would not be hard for MOST (not ALL) people to try active travel. The Dutch make five billion bicycle trips each year, covering 17.6 billion km; or 1,000 km per person.

      Shape Better Streets has supported other local groups trying to get their own streets traffic-calmed and we have advice (see https://shapebetterstreets.org/2021/02/05/want-your-own-ltn/) on how to get your own LTN.

      We too would like all the community to benefit, not the few. The elite are the ones who insist on driving their SUVs in cities/towns, not those advocating walking & cycling!


    1. Congratulations Daniel on being the first (young) person to point out the hills. When the LTN was in operation I saw many old people (as I’m 72 – this means older than me) walking up Belvedere and Fox Hill. Mothers with pushchairs. I run up Belvedere in less than 3 minutes. People use these wonderful hills for training. The hills are an opportunity to get fitter.

      Miserable old geezer comment: “Whatever happened to the Brits who celebrated Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay climbing Everest”.


  3. Robbie, you still run up Belvedere Road now without the LTN, so what is your point exactly? The pavements have always been open and your running is neither advantaged nor disadvantaged.

    What you’re failing to recognise is that by closing the roads to vehicles, was the far greater number of old people who were trapped in their homes, or mothers who couldn’t drag their young brood up the hill and do a full shop for her family, or the disabled people that were cut off and isolated, because none of these groups are as mobile as you and not able to walk these hill.

    I’m pleased for you, that at 72 years of age you’re able to run up one of the highest hills in London, but your argument seems to be framed around “if I can do it, everyone can do it” and “my life choices are improved so to hell with everyone else”. None of these are reasonable, sensible or community spirited position to hold.


    1. Actually I’ve stopped running up Belvedere since the LTN was abolished and have reduced walking along Auckland. What I am demonstrating is that MOST people could adopt walking despite the hills. If all the FIT people stopped using their cars, then the people less able would be able to drive without difficulty.

      None of the roads were closed. They were all accessible; just through traffic was prevented.

      It is quite amazing the number of FIT people who hide behind less-abled people as an excuse to continue driving their own cars.


      1. It smacks of desperation that people make so much of the hills. Auckland Rd up one of the hill roads to Church Rd is about 30 metres of ascent. My late father in law regularly walked it in the last 18 months of his life, when he was sadly not at all well; when he was not up to walking, I wheeled him without difficulty. I regularly see a frail older woman using a rollator walking up Sylvan Hill.
        What I can say from personal experience is that cycling on the outside of parked vehicles up the hill roads while large numbers of angry drivers behave dangerously is much more off-putting than the climb, which is trivial really if you have decent gears, still more e-assist.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. It is interesting that the OOR supporters have publicised data that was also requested by a non-OOR supporter who was concerned about the high level of speeding on Auckland Road. The speed camera (one way) regularly revealed speeds of 50 MPH during the day. It would be useful if the Council could install a speed camera that tracked motorists going the opposite direction, as we would have a better idea of the true scale of the traffic and speeding along this C-road.


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