Low Traffic Neighbourhood
|Low Traffic Neighbourhood|
|Modal filter with mature plantings and emergency services access in Cambridge|
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|Traffic calming • Modal Filter|
A Low Traffic Neighbourhood is a term used to describe an urban area where physical measures have been used across the area in a planned manner in order to reduce the amount of vehicle traffic, with a view to encourage cycling and walking. This objective is primarily achieved by preventing through vehicular traffic from using the streets using Modal Filters, either by the use of physical measures such as gates, or by using camera enforcement.
This initiative has its roots in traffic calming - measures such as "access only" roads, and sleeping policemen have been in place for many years; but rather addressing specific junctions or roads, a Low Traffic Neighbourhood addresses all the roads in the area.
Planning in such a context also may allow road space to be reallocated to provide urban realm improvements, such as an increase in plantings, cycle parking provision, exercise equipment, and picnic/cafe tables to name but a few. There are numerous citations of the positive impact that such schemes have had on urban environments, as well as in encouraging modal shift, and providing other health and safety benefits, such as increased life expectancy.
Many criticisms of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have come from poor implementations, rather than there being issues with the concept as a whole. Examples include failure to consult emergency services and failures to adequately sign measures.
In other areas there has been criticism for LTNs pushing traffic away from wealthier neighbourhoods and onto arterial routes where poorer residents live, exacerbating class division - however, TfL claim that such measures overall cause a reduction in traffic.
There is also evidence that a combination of factors (including LTNs, but also increased online shopping, reduction in car ownership in some areas) as contributed to a year on year increase in light goods vehicle movements around towns.
Further research is being carried out with regard to the concept in general.
- TFL: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (15.12.2020) (archive.org)
- The Guardian:The new road rage: bitter rows break out over UK’s low-traffic neighbourhoods (20.09.2020) (archive.org)
- Waltham Forest Council: Increased levels of walking and cycling extend the life expectancy of Waltham Forest residents by at least seven months (11.09.2018) (archive.org)
- London News: Ealing Council's failure to talk to ambulance service over road blocks 'could have been a fatal mistake' (28.09.2020) (archive.org)
- Manchester Evening News: Confusion, controversy and quiet chaos erupts on the streets of Levenshulme (06.01.2021) (archive.org)
- London News: Mum whose daughter may have died of pollution poisoning condemns toxin-cutting road measures (29.07.2020) (archive.org)
- Supplementary Guidance on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (June 2020) (archive.org)
- Urban Transport Group: White Van Cities (April 2018) (archive.org)
- Rachel Aldred: Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: what is the evidence from the mini-Holland interventions? (01.09.2020) (archive.org)