Nick Ferrari clashes with guest over Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
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Low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) across London show that streets with LTNs experience substantial, overall fall in traffic rates and significant changes in street use. There was a large decrease in motor traffic on roads within LTNs, with an average reduction of 815 motor vehicles.
This decrease was shown to be almost 10 times higher than average increases in motor traffic on boundary roads.
This research suggests that LTNs are creating a substantial overall reduction in traffic in areas where they are in use.
It is believed to be the most comprehensive study of LTNs ever, conducted by Climate charity Possible and the University of Westminster’s Active Travel Academy.
Across London, the mean percentage reduction of traffic on streets within LTNs was 46.9 percent.
This has resulted in many more streets experiencing under 1,000 motor vehicles passing through them a day, implying that there may be a qualitative change in the local environment that has meant an increase in walking and cycling.
The study also analysed the impact on boundary roads surrounding LTNs, with 47 percent of boundary roads seeing a decrease in traffic and 53 percent seeing an increase.
Average motor traffic counts showed that on boundary roads, traffic changed relatively little – with a mean average increase of just 82 motor vehicles per day.
This is a less than one percent increase on the mean average of 11,000 vehicles that pass through boundary roads on a typical day.
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Acknowledging this small increase, the report goes on to note the importance of the substantial variations, in regard to both increases and decreases in traffic on boundary roads, between individual LTN schemes.
These variations are not likely to be primarily caused by LTNs but could, instead, be caused by other contextual factors such as major local works or wider background trends.
Hirra Khan Adeogun, Head of Car Free Cities at climate charity Possible, praised the scope of the research, saying now was the time for action.
She said: “This report shows that low traffic neighbourhoods are having a verifiable, positive impact for the people living on these streets.
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“But, importantly, it shows that they have no consistent impact on boundary roads. In a climate crisis, we need our policymakers to make bold, data-led decisions; this report gives them that information.
“What we need now is action to drive down traffic, make our cities happier and healthier, and directly address the climate crisis.”
The report emphasises the need to consider that boundary roads are still highly likely to still be polluted, unsafe, or difficult to cross or cycle on.
Removing LTNs is unlikely to alleviate these issues so it is vital for local authorities to consider other measures that could.
For instance, expanding low emission zones, road user charging, increasing the number of bus lanes and public transport provision, urban greenery, widening pavements, and protected cycle lanes could all make a contribution.
Prof Rachel Aldred, Director of the Active Travel Academy at the University of Westminster and co-author of the study, also commented on the data.
She said: “The research indicates there has been overall ‘traffic evaporation’ as a result of these schemes, as the mean average reduction in motor traffic on internal roads is around 10 times higher than the mean average increase on boundary roads, adjusting for background trends.
“This suggests that not only do LTNs have substantial benefits inside their boundaries, but they can also contribute to wider traffic reduction goals.”
Possible is calling on local authorities to use the report’s findings to introduce more LTNs and to challenge misinformation about the direct impacts on boundary roads. They are also calling for further measures to address traffic on these boundary roads.
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