Mapping London’s new Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

New Year Update: final map tweaks slightly shrink LTN areas to avoid wrongly including buildings on boundary roads and to include 3 Stoke Newington filters that went in right at the end of September. As before, note that the map only covers March-September 2020, and the caveats below regarding definitions. A paper is under peer review and analysis will be shared soon.

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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14 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.

  5. A N Brown says:

    I am concerned about the sweeping assumption that people are ‘benefitting’ disproportionately. A more appropriate word would surely be ‘affected’ for the research to be accepted as truly unbiased.

  6. Richard Fairhurst says:

    This is hugely useful – looking forward to the data release. It would be good to encourage creation of a nationwide dataset with a similar scope.

    • admin says:

      Hi Richard – we think it’s good to go, so you can download it now from Google Maps. Note that it is only March-September – we hope to update in the New Year to allow more research.

  7. Andrew Kemp says:

    Hi,
    Aside from your very useful pinned map, are there any other map sources which have been updated with these access changes.

    Google maps does not seem to be fully updated yet?

    Many thanks.

    • admin says:

      Google Maps should generally be updated with these changes, if they are functioning and people are reporting them to Google – I’ve found many (not all) are on there, ditto OpenStreetMap.

  8. Robbie Polley says:

    Hi. Wondering why you have not included De Beauvoir LTN on your map, bounded to the North by Balls Pond Rd and west by Southgate. This was implemented in 2016, it’s always described as an LTN by Hackney Council, because it is a low traffic neighbourhood.
    Also, have you considered any analysis of roads around LTNs and especially how the traffic volumes have changed since LTNs have been implemented in their area?
    This is massive point of contention around LTNS with people who have seen a substantial increases on their residential streets since LTNs have reduced roads available, especially for through traffic.

    • admin says:

      Thanks Robbie, the map is March-September 2020 LTNs so no it does does not include ‘historic’ LTNs.

      Much of the analysis we’ve done so far of LTNs (largely Waltham Forest, so far, as a bunch were implemented 2015-9 so we can study relatively easily) has included looking at adjacent areas and boundary roads, and comparing LTNs, adjacent areas, and boundary roads to control sites (to adjust for the impact of background changes either way). We’re looking at how to examine changes in traffic delays at the moment in and around new LTNs in a similar way. We did find in the Waltham Forest LTNs when we looked at changes in fire response times, there didn’t seem to be any negative impacts, which was positive (from the data, there might be an initial perception of greater delays among fire crews, but it wasn’t borne out in the actual response data). The paper’s here https://findingspress.org/article/18198.pdf and we are currently looking at similar data in relation to recent LTNs.

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