Mapping London’s new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

My colleagues Anna Goodman, Ersilia Verlinghieri, Irena Itova, Megan Sharkey, and I have been starting to analyse where active travel infrastructure is being built in London. There’s literature on the benefits of these kinds of schemes, but also, articles from a range of contexts (particularly North and Latin America, where an active travel equity perspective is perhaps more advanced) critiquing where it has been built.

Much of the equity analysis has covered cycling more than walking – such as Lindsay Braun and colleague’s analysis for 22 large US cities, which helped inspire what we’re doing. There are existing datasets of bike routes, both from Open Street Map and Transport for London, which can be used to look at whether cycle infrastructure is more prevalent in (for instance) less deprived areas of London, or vice versa.

But what about walking? Our research into the Mini-Holland schemes has suggested that many of those interventions – such as Low Traffic Neighbourhoods or LTNs, made up of areas with ‘modal filters’ to restrict through motor traffic – might be interpreted primarily as walking interventions, because most of the increased active travel is walking. (Arguably, cycling will tend to need more than walking in the way of longer-distance strategic routes to complement local and area-level improvements).

Hence we are very interested in looking at what already existed in London, LTN-wise (in practice, likely to mean bollards, given that we have only recently started thinking about ‘LTNs’), as well as what has been built under Covid-19 emergency funding. Have better-off areas benefited disproportionately? Or has the distribution been more equitable? And how does the picture change when we look within boroughs (given that only some boroughs have implemented any LTN schemes at all)?

Our draft map is below – and it’s been a challenge to combine information for 33 districts , so we very much welcome comment (email activetravelacademy@westminster.ac.uk with the subject line ‘LTN Map’) on where we might have missed something or included something that ended up not being built (yet). We have sourced information from many places and it includes (i) modal filters or substantial timed restrictions that reduce through motor traffic, and (ii) ‘LTN areas’ comprising modal filters and restrictions. For the LTN areas, we have mostly used what councils themselves defined as an ‘LTN area’, although in a few cases we have defined our own areas where we couldn’t find this. In a few cases, it didn’t seem like there was an LTN (e.g. a bollard was being used to reduce motor traffic at a school, rather than a wider area scheme).

This map is intended to cover schemes implemented from March 2020 to end of September 2020 as a cut-off point for our analysis, although we will be periodically updating it (we are interested for instance to look at this alongside the decennial Census data, which will be collected at the end of March 2021). To tell us about anything we’ve got wrong, please email activetravelacademy@westminster.ac.uk with the subject line ‘LTN Map’.

We will release a final version of the map later this month in which the data will be available to others to download and use. So watch this space 🙂

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5 Responses to Mapping London’s new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

  1. Gerlinde Gniewosz says:

    Cressingham Gardens Estate next to Brockwell Park in Lambeth was designed as a LTN – Single external road with parking under cover, inside estate 100% pedestrianised

  2. Eva Burgess says:

    I live on Wandsworth Bridge Road in Fulham. What was once a pleasant tree lined main road, enjoyable to walk down with local shops and cafés has now become a polluted traffic nightmare. This is due to the imposition of an LTN indicated on the map above.

    Imperial Road which runs parallel to Wandsworth Bridge Road and has no shops or cafes on it is closed to through traffic whilst the residents of WBR are suffocated by queuing traffic. How does this make sense?

    There is a fairness aspect to this. The LTN has made the back streets even more quiet when WBR was already worse than them. If the aim is to lower pollution and make safer streets for the neighbourhood, is WBR not also part of the neighbourhood?

    Every day children from the neighbourhood schools walk down WBR breathing in pollution that is way above safe levels. This scheme is poorly implemented, fundamentally unfair and detrimental to the whole community as everyone has to shop on a polluted, noisy road.

    Frankly, Hammersmith and Fulham Council should be ashamed of themselves.

  3. Clare says:

    Hi, any update on the final version of this?

    • admin says:

      Hi Clare, we tweaked the map after bits of feedback on exactly where a few boundaries should be drawn and the odd bollard we’d missed. I think the current version is pretty good, although it’s for a specific purpose – identifying ‘new’ bollards and LTN areas put in during March-September, so it may not exactly match other maps defined differently. There is a report about to come out and some more detailed academic statistical analysis under way.

  4. Caroline Brooman-White says:

    I also live on the Wandsworth Bridge Road. I have lived there for 40 years and until recently it was the most amazing place to live. The whole community is so friendly and we have so many privately owned businesses who rely on visiting customers. The scheme was imposed on us without any consultation – unbelievable and totally undemocratic. Our lives are a living hell – the pollution is horrendous and we are trapped.

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