‘LTNs are effective – but only one part of the solution’

Image belongs to Matt Seymour on Unsplash

Good design, engagement and communications can make low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) more effective and less controversial, according to a new report.

The report, published by Centre for London in June 2022, explores the impact and effectiveness of LTNs in their overall aim of reducing private car usage in London.

It concludes that local authorities considering implementing an LTN should follow best practice, including engaging early with both the public and emergency services.

They should also introduce other traffic decarbonisation measures, such as controls on parking and wider pavements, as well as offering alternative mobility solutions.

In 2020, local authorities received funding from the Government to introduce LTNs, as part of the response to the Covid pandemic.

Although not new to London’s streets, many of the schemes were ‘highly controversial’, with opposition from some road users.

The report says LTNs have faced vocal opposition for three main reasons:

    • Some Londoners feel they are being inconvenienced without having a credible alternative to driving
    • They feel that the rapid implementation of LTNs excluded them from decision making, and hold that the schemes are of poor quality as a resul
    • They see LTNs as ineffective – and even unfair – because they can displace traffic onto nearby roads

However, the report also concludes that LTNs are not as divisive as people often say, with support from 47% of Londoners – compared to 16% who oppose them (37% don’t have a strong opinion or just don’t know about them).

The report reviews the concerns of Londoners and the experiences of local authorities to understand why LTNs have been controversial and what impact they’ve had so far. 

Based on these findings, the report proposes new ways to help make London’s streets healthier, safer and greener.

The key recommendations in full:

    • The Government should give the mayor of London and the boroughs new powers to raise funds themselves for the delivery of sustainable travel measures such as LTNs
    • Until new fundraising powers are introduced, the Government should make funding available to local authorities and TfL so that they can engage residents meaningfully over LTNs and support those who are most impacted with complementary measures
    • Local authorities considering implementing an LTN should follow best practice, including engaging early with both the public and emergency services, and introducing other traffic decarbonisation measures – such as controls on parking or offering alternative mobility solutions
    • The mayor of London should call on local authorities to maximise coverage of LTNs or similar schemes in their areas
    • London Councils and TfL should create an LTN Knowledge Hub that helps boroughs learn from each other’s experiences. The Hub should be open so the public and local campaign groups can access it too

19 July 2022