A new report from the think tank Centre for London in the UK – ‘Street Shift: The Future of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ – has come up with ways to make the city’s low traffic neighborhoods (LTNs) more effective.
Overall, the report found that LTNs can benefit local streets by reducing car traffic, increasing walking and cycling, and making roads safer for all users. However, the report states that LTNs alone are not the solution to reducing people’s reliance on private vehicles as they do little to reduce the traffic on main roads and, in some cases, bring about an increase in traffic outside of the LTNs.
The Centre for London believes that LTNs should be introduced along with complementary measures, and makes a number of specific recommendations to improve the design, experience, and outcomes of LTNs:
- the report found that there were substantial increases in cycling within the low traffic neighborhoods, but believes that more could be done to encourage walking and cycling. Suggestions include reallocating road space, redesigning intersections, widening sidewalks, and promoting cycle training;
- the report calls for the introduction of a national open database of planned changes to road access rules and ensuring that new measures are mapped onto online source data for satellite navigation systems. This would help to make sure road users are aware of changes to road access;
- funding should be made available to local authorities and Transport for London for consultation and communication in order to engage residents meaningfully about LTNs and support those who are most impacted by them;
- complementary measures should include a denser network of bike and scooter hire, car sharing, and new public transport options; and
- the report also suggests developing tailored support to encourage people to trade in their cars with the help of scrap schemes and vouchers that could include public transport, bike, scooter (for rent or purchase) or car sharing club memberships.
“We’re calling on the government to give the Mayor of London and the boroughs new powers to raise funds themselves, for the delivery of sustainable travel measures such as low-traffic neighborhoods,” said Nicolas Bosetti, head of Data and Insight at Centre for London. “By offering a package of measures and by consulting local people and street users in advance, local authorities can make low traffic neighborhoods more effective, and less controversial.”
The research was funded by Foundation for Integrated Transport, and sponsored by Enterprise Holdings, London Borough of Enfield and London Borough of Lewisham.