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Understanding the evidence on the impact of low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) on cities and communities is an important part of their successful delivery. This page provides a handy reference list of existing research on low-traffic neighbourhoods to meet the evidence needs of any practitioners implementing them.
Emergency Low Traffic Neighbourhoods – the case demonstrated in one image
London’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: an emerging evidence base: an LTN primer with short sections on:
- Car use is harming us all, particularly marginalised groups and those without cars
- Unsustainable traffic growth – and how to stop it
- Where Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) fit in
- Impact of Waltham Forest’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
- Research related to LTNs implemented in London in 2020
In the UK, one-third of our carbon emissions come from transport, and private cars are the biggest contributor. Not only do we need to drastically reduce our car use to reach climate targets, but our aim of fewer cars on the road will help people live healthier lives too.
The current way our cities are structured means that we accept the harm that comes with cars – the grime, pollution, and congestion. This affects us all. But older people, disabled people, children, and communities where people of colour, and poorer people live are hit the hardest.
Our Car Free Cities campaign aims to help local communities reimagine their own neighbourhoods where car dependency is a thing of the past; and to co-design and deliver real-world, bottom-up practical solutions that reduce motor traffic dominance.
From the outset, let’s be clear – a “car free city” is a city which is free of the dangers, pollution, and emissions caused by mass private car ownership. It’s not a city with no cars at all. We recognise there are many people, including disabled people, who cannot get around without a car, and our campaign to reduce the number of cars in cities will make their lives easier too.Possible is a UK based climate charity working towards a zero carbon society, built by and for the people of the UK
Clean air zones are now found in over 250 cities across Europe, and there is comprehensive research demonstrating that they work.
Our recommendations to local authorities:
Implement the most comprehensive form of clean air zone and communicate it as part of a broader transformation plan for the area.
This should include a clear plan to mitigate the impact on local businesses and residents, with financial support where necessary. Wider transformation of the transport system should include targeted action to prioritise public transport and active travel, with reallocation of road space to buses, pedestrians and cyclists, and car free streets. Local authorities should work closely with local businesses to roll out freight consolidation centres, workplace parking levies and scrappage schemes.
Consult communities and businesses extensively on local transport reforms.
The reason many schemes fail is due to poor local consultation. Local authorities must set a clear overarching vision for their area and work in partnership with people and businesses on the best ways to realise it in their local context.
Active travel: Trends, policy and funding, Commons Research Briefing
London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets:
- A guide to Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
- Low Traffic Neighbourhoods – An introduction for Policy Makers
- An introductory guide to low-traffic neighbourhood design contents
- Making the case for a low traffic neighbourhood
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: Creating Liveable Cities on the Cheap – Adam Reynolds·TEDxBath
Green Light: Next generation road user charging for a healthier, more liveable, London
29 April 2019 | Silviya Barrett, Martin Wedderburn, Erica Belcher
Read online or download pdf
Understanding the health impacts of air pollution in London | Kings College
Sustainable Development Commission – Fairness in a Car Dependent Society
Using Stats19 police data 2012-2019, we find a three-fold decline in number of injuries inside low traffic neighbourhoods after implementation, relative to the rest of Waltham Forest and the rest of Outer London.
Anthony A. Laverty & Rachel Aldred
Cycling UK – statistics 38 pages of stats and graphs including comparison with continent
Susan Cashmere (Twitter)
TACKLING POLLUTION AND CONGESTION
Why congestion must be reduced if air quality is to improve
Professor David Begg / Claire Haigh 15th June 2017
- Policy focus on reducing emissions per passenger
- Diesel cars must comply with CAZ standards
- Support for bus retrofit to Euro VI standard
- Demand management measures to reduce traffic
- Modal switch from car to sustainable transport
Whenever the latest congestion statistics are released there is a tendency for the public and the media to blame road works, traffic calming, speed restrictions, pedestrian priority, cycle lanes and bus lanes. The overwhelming cause of congestion however is that there are too many vehicles on the road.TACKLING POLLUTION AND CONGESTION: Why congestion must be reduced if air quality is to improve
Professor David Begg / Claire Haigh
Local Government Association:
To help draw out some of the key lessons from the EATF programme, the LGA commissioned experts from the University of Westminster and Fern Consulting to undertake independent research. 19 May 2021
Grant Shapps: Secretary of State for Transport
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has had a terrible impact on the lives and health of many UK citizens, as well as severe economic consequences. But it has also resulted in cleaner air and quieter streets, transforming the environment in many of our towns and cities.
And millions of people have discovered, or rediscovered, cycling and walking. In some places, there’s been a 70% rise in the number of people on bikes – for exercise, or for safe, socially distanced travel.
When the country gets back to work, we need them to carry on cycling, and to be joined by millions more. With public transport capacity reduced, the roads in our largest cities, in particular, may not be able to cope without it.
We also know that in the new world, pedestrians will need more space. Indications are that there is a significant link between COVID-19 recovery and fitness. Active travel can help us become more resilient.
That is why towns and cities in the UK and around the world are making or proposing radical changes to their roads to accommodate active travel.
We recognise this moment for what it is: a once in a generation opportunity to deliver a lasting transformative change in how we make short journeys in our towns and cities. According to the National Travel Survey, in 2017-18 over 40% of urban journeys were under 2 miles – perfectly suited to walking and cycling.
Active travel is affordable, delivers significant health benefits, has been shown to improve wellbeing, mitigates congestion, improves air quality and has no carbon emissions at the point of use. Towns and cities based around active travel will have happier and healthier citizens as well as lasting local economic benefits.
The government therefore expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians. Such changes will help embed altered behaviours and demonstrate the positive effects of active travel. I’m pleased to see that many authorities have already begun to do this, and I urge you all to consider how you can begin to make use of the tools in this guidance, to make sure you do what is necessary to ensure transport networks support recovery from the COVID-19 emergency and provide a lasting legacy of greener, safer transport.
Secretary of State for Transport
Traffic Management Act 2004: network management in response to COVID-19
National Travel Survey: 2019 (the fact sheets have very good graphics)
Department for Transport – Gear Change: A bold vision for cycling and walking [this is a very far-reaching document]
“We are open to the idea of charging people at a reasonable level who
have highly polluting cars more on condition that efforts are made to
improve public transport and those who adopt greener solutions (like
walking, cycling, car sharing and electric vehicles are rewarded). But
above all we want to see fewer cars in total on the borough’s roads with
shorter journeys in particular being cut.”
Our key principles for recovery:
Community – Invest in projects that help the community and environment recover together, focusing on job creation for young people, people with disabilities, black and ethnic minority communities and the disadvantaged.
Environment – Improve access to existing quality green spaces and create high quality liveable neighbourhoods that tackle the climate and ecological crisis.
Transport – Support everyone to increase their walking and cycling for short, local journeys and better access to Croydon’s green spaces. Reallocate road space away from the car to better enable safe, independent and affordable travel for all. Improve public transport to areas with little or no public transport, such as Old Town, Kenley and the area between Norbury and Upper Norwood.
Croydon has more air pollution deaths than any other London boroughs, data from Clean Air in London shows. Lucy Frost SWLondoner 8 April 2021
Other London boroughs
Results from the six month monitoring report
This short report summarises new and emerging evidence on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, and how they fit into wider transport planning goals
Possible January 2021
Lambeth Covid-19 Transport Strategy Programme – Low Traffic Neighbourhoods Monitoring Strategy
King’s College London air quality report: Air Quality: concentrations, exposure and
attitudes in Waltham Forest
Rachel Tripp on Forest Gate and Maryland LTNs – a good example for us of cross-borough collaboration and she has some nice maps!
Putting the park into parking
Brenda Puech from Living Streets Hackney Group had been asking her local council to pilot a ‘parklet’ programme for years. But after feeling she was getting nowhere, she decided to “take matters into her own hands.”
MAKE LEE GREEN: Campaigning for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods in SE12 & SE13
Ferndale Low Traffic Neighbourhood in Brixton and Clapham (great map!)
A comprehensive 50 page report that covers:
- What are LTNs?
- What do Londoners think of LTNs?
- The impact of LTNs
- What does a successful LTN look like?
- Complementary measures
Published by Centre for London, June 2022
Professor Rachel Aldred and Dr Ersilia Verlinghieri of the Active Travel Academy
Jon Burke formerly a Hackney Councillor, and the Cabinet Member for Energy, Waste,
Transport and Public Realm, argues that on environmental, medical and social grounds, drastic action has to be taken against the motor vehicle in London.
The London Society
We’re calling for London Mayoral candidates to put walking and cycling at the heart of their plans for a fairer, healthier future for the capital.
Fairer streets, better lives
Health impacts of cars in London Greater London Authority, September 2015
Getting more people walking and cycling could help save our high streets – TFL November 2018
people walking, cycling and using public transport spend the most in their local shops, spending 40% more each month than car driversTFL report: Getting more people walking and cycling could help save our high streets 16 Nov 2018
It is estimated there will need to be around an 80 per cent reduction in public transport capacity in order to support social distancing for those who need to use it. If all 80 per cent of public transport journeys were switched to active modes instead, some boroughs would need to accommodate almost double the pre-COVID-19 levels of walking and cycling by their residents.London Streetspace Plan
Conversely, if all car-owning households switched their usual public transport journeys to car, some boroughs would see a near doubling in the number of private transport journeys, causing massive congestion issues.
London Cycling Campaign – Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
London Cycling Campaign Climate Safe Streets report, a roadmap to decarbonise the capital’s roads in the next 10 years
Because the really crazy idea has always been that we should live in cities where vast swathes of precious real estate is given over to getting around in big, heavy, low-occupancy metal boxes – not only emitting vast quantities of carbon dioxide but creating lethal levels of pollution, clogging up the arteries of our cities, and contributing to a crisis of sedentariness that is damaging public health…
The case for changing how we travel isn’t simply about staving off the worst effects of the climate emergency: it’s about a better quality of life and better health for everyone; more choice and less congestion; greater fairness, affordability and convenience; increased business and job opportunities; and thriving high streets.Climate Safe Streets
Silviya Barrett, with Martin Wedderburn and Erica Belcher
Centre for London, April 2019
Headline recommendation:Croydon Climate Crisis Commission (see page 24 for LTNs and 15-minute city)
Low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) are zones of residential streets where through motor traffic is discouraged or reduced to promote active travel and cleaner air. The streets should be easily accessible, but not used by cars to pass through the area. As through traffic lessens, overall traffic levels, speeds, and emissions all are reduced. Neighbourhoods are resultantly safer, quieter, and see higher uses of public transport and active travel (ie walking and cycling). This is particularly beneficial for women and people with lower incomes who are more likely to rely on walking and public transport.
Recommendation 16: Promote public transport and active travel to become the natural first choice.
- Improve and extend cycle routes to connect all of Croydon and define lanes with green infrastructure (hedges and planters) to improve safety and green the environment. Increase access to cycle storage across the borough.
- Develop and pilot approaches to low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) to reducing traffic in every ward. It is essential that lessons are learned from recent experience of imposing LTNs on communities. These pilots should be co-designed with residents and local businesses, and particularly target areas with poor air quality.
- Introduce park-and-ride schemes to reduce the number of vehicles entering central Croydon.
- Extend the School Streets programme to all schools in the borough with no parking near schools to reduce traffic and improve air quality. Support implementation with a campaign to encourage parents not to drive to schools.
- Reduce the number of parking spaces across the borough targeting areas of low air quality first.
- Use data from the Covid-19 pandemic school bus provision to assess if school buses should run all the time.
- Indicators of success to include a reduction in car ownership for Croydon as a whole, and air quality at key intervention areas.
Croydon Climate Crisis Commission pages 27/28
Croydon is in 23rd place of all 33 London local authorities.
The borough’s overall score is brought down by high levels of car ownership (92 cars per 100 households); low use of controlled parking (only 20% of borough roads are controlled); the second lowest score for protected cycle track of all boroughs; and, although Croydon did implement Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTN) in 2020, just 4% of roads with potential for low-traffic restrictions actually now have an LTN, and this is the lowest score for all boroughs and far away from the 47% in leading Outer London borough Waltham Forest.
Local authorities in areas with high levels of public transport use should take measures to reallocate road space to people walking and cycling, both to encourage active travel and to enable social distancing…Central Government Guidance
Measures should be taken as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks, given the urgent need to change travel habits
ForewordLondon Borough of Croydon Third Local Implementation Plan
The development of this third Local Implementation Plan comes at an opportune time for Croydon. We are facing some unprecedented challenges in the form of increasing population growth, rising car ownership, increasing traffic congestion, an obesity-linked health crisis and mounting evidence of the impacts that air pollution has on us and the health of our children.
In Croydon we rebuilt our street environment around the car, which has contributed to making us less active and means we have a bigger challenge than many other areas.
However, Croydon’s Growth Zone programme offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform our town centre public spaces and improve the health and wellbeing of all, transforming Croydon into Outer London’s most liveable and attractive borough.
Emergency Active Travel Funding London Streetspace Plan – Central Government Guidance, and shows that Croydon is the London borough that has the greatest potential for cyclable trips (Bromley which is 4th have done nothing)
Crystal Palace and South Norwood Low Traffic Neighbourhood, published on Croydon Council website (undated, but probably 28 August 2020)
Croydon Council A Transport Vision for Croydon: Moving towards a more liveable place March 2015
If you plan cities for cars and traffic, you get cars and traffic. If you plan for people and places, you get people and places.Fred Kent, Project for Public Spaces quoted in A Transport Vision for Croydon: Moving towards a more liveable place March 2015
A future Labour council is committed to:Croydon Labour Manifesto 2018
Poor street environments exclude many from active
travel, particularly women, children and older people.
Working with the Mayor of London, we will make the
following areas a priority:
• Healthy and safer streets that encourage more
walking, to tackle our obesity crisis
• Reducing the number of short car journeys that
could be walked, cycled or taken on public transport
Traffic Management Advisory Committee Agenda
Public Document Pack
A very thorough 370 page report covering all aspects of the LTN
Sorry, it’s not really magic! There are many case studies that show significant amounts of traffic disappear. People change their mode of travel, choose alternative destinations, or the frequency of their journey, consolidated trips, take up car sharing or stop making the journey at all.
The main study brought together experience from 70 case studies of roadspace reallocation from general traffic, across 11 countries, with opinions from 200 transport professionals.
Read the definitive report: S. Cairns, S. Atkins and P. Goodwin
Evaporating traffic? Impact of low-traffic neighbourhoods on main roads – Emma Griffin, vice-chair, London Living Streets
This demonstrates that if councils improve the conditions for walking and cycling (and make driving just a little more inconvenient), people take the bait very quickly. And as time goes on, as active travel becomes embedded in lifestyles, more will follow leading to long-term change over an entire area.Emma Griffin
Low-traffic neighbourhoods are not, therefore, about rewarding one group of people while punishing another: they are part and parcel of shrewd city planning, making long-term decisions about how people travel.
Rapid Transition Alliance – Reducing roads can cause traffic to ‘Evaporate’
Rachel Aldred – Disappearing traffic?
Inevitably, if you at all interested in Liveable Cities or urban design, you will have to investigate how they do it in Netherlands. So here is a video about Invisible Bicycle Infrastructure of the Netherlands (Hoofdnetten). There are many more videos on this YouTube channel – Not Just Bikes – well worth subscribing to.
- I am not a “Cyclist” (and most Dutch people aren’t either)
- Traffic Calming is Everywhere in the Netherlands
- What Makes a City Great? “I like cities. They’re places where people get together and do interesting things.”
Dutch Cycling Embassy
One of the best resources for seeing how they ‘do it’ in the Netherlands.
- Best Practices Dutch Cycling – some of the finest examples and practices Dutch cycling has to offer. With this selection we want to inspire and provide you with insights, background and learnings of famous and perhaps less-famous examples. Besides motivating you, we want to offer some perspectives that may help you in taking first steps in implementing similar examples in your locality.
- Dutch Cycling Embassy Facebook
This study followed nearly 2,000 people in seven European cities (Antwerp, Belgium; Barcelona, Spain; London, UK; Orebro, Sweden; Rome, Italy; Vienna, Austria; Zurich, Switzerland), collecting data on daily travel behaviour, journey purpose, as well as information on where their home and work or study location was, whether they have access to public transport, and socio-economic factors.
by Hayley Dunning Imperial College London 04 February 2021
Curbed (US) – How to end traffic
Every day, 28 children and young people are killed or seriously injured on British roads. Between the ages of five to 14, the most common cause of death is being hit by a vehicle. On average, one child in every class is killed or injured as a pedestrian, cyclist or passenger in a motor vehicle by the time they are 16.Sustainable Development Commission Fairness in a Car Dependent Society
Using Stats19 police data 2012-2019, we find a three-fold decline in number of injuries inside low traffic neighbourhoods after implementation, relative to the rest of Waltham Forest and the rest of Outer London.Anthony A. Laverty & Rachel Aldred
The walk to school is the single most accessible way to reduce congestion and pollution outside the school gates, while increasing the safety and improving physical and mental wellbeing of pupils.Living Streets the UK charity for everyday walking
For a world free of high-risk roads: CycleRAP is an innovation project being led by iRAP to develop an enhanced risk evaluation model specific to bicycling and other light mobility users, with the aim of reducing crashes and improving infrastructure safety for these transport modes.
Report by Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety
Data dispels myth that low-traffic neighbourhoods are disproportionately found in privileged areas
Antonio Voce and Peter Walker Guardian 2 Mar 2021
This shows Croydon LTNs as being more equitable both in terms of ethnicity and deprivation:
Diversity In Cycling is a collaborative grass roots report. It belongs to everyone who contributed and anyone committed to diversity, there is not exclusivity.
If you live in New York City and use a manual wheelchair, you may soon be able to use the Lime app to order a free rental of an attachment that turns it into a power vehicle. The design is one of seven adaptive vehicles the micromobility company recently developed to make its services more accessible.
Opponents of LTNs, in this area and elsewhere, frequently assert that they have adverse impacts on the groups in our society who are legally protected under equalities legislation. This blog takes a dispassionate look at the evidence and finds these claims at best unsubstantiated, and in some cases completely unsupported, on the balance of evidence.
Traditional thinking has tended to view the limitations on disabled people’s choices and life experiences purely as a consequence of the differences in their physical capabilities. The answer to those limitations would be to fix their physical limitations, which is, often, of course impossible, or to accept that they have to put up with more limited choices and quality of life than others. In recent years, however, disability advocates and government have favoured a different way of thinking, called the “social model of disability.”
Parody adverts for cars have appeared across Bristol as part of a nationwide “ad hack” by the Brandalism network. By Martin Booth B24/7
Brandalism is a revolt against the corporate control of culture and space.
We are an international collective of artists that challenge corporate power, greed and corruption around the world.
Intervening into ad spaces that usually celebrate consumption, Brandalism use ‘subvertising’ as a lens through which we can view the intersectional social & environmental justice issues that capitalism creates.
Our interventions, exhibitions and workshops aim to agitate, educate and facilitate those who want to challenge corporate power.
‘Badvertising’ is a new campaign to stop adverts fuelling the climate emergency. This includes ads for cars, airline flights and fossil fuels. We ended tobacco advertising when we understood the harm done by smoking. Now we know the damage done by fossil fuel products and activities, it’s time to stop promoting them.