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 🙂

Bookmark the permalink.

24 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.

  9. ADAM KEELAN says:

    Hi Rachel – you’ve probably seen Justin Rowlatt’s piece on LTNs’ on the BBC website today – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-56419277

    I wondered where he might have got the ‘1 in 20 Londoners live within one ‘ figure from – would you have any ideas please?

  10. b199er says:

    London’s main roads were built practically a century ago. Over the decades, they have barely changed. Despite increasing population (particularly in Outer London), and adoption of the car as the primary mode of transport in the modern world during the 20th century.

    This caught old world cities like London off-guard, resulting in the typical single-lane (or if lucky 2-lane) main road being overwhelmed with traffic, hence for much of the 20th century a large proportion of Londoners would use the ‘backroads’ to get to their destination (essentially to get from A to B, you had 1 Main road route plus several alternate routes).

    Sure it wasn’t a pretty solution, but for a city designed around the horse and cart, it worked.

    However, over the decades with the introduction of speed bumps and restrictions on the backroads, and the dedicated bus-lanes (ensuring that any 2-lane road would effectively be single lane for private vehicles during peak times). Along with further increasing adoption of the car for transportation (in line with the global trend). We end up with a system where ever more cars are being forced to drive along a single-lane main road.

    The LTNs function to further increase the pressure on these low capacity main roads.

    Essentially drivers are saying, the main roads, which the councils would love everyone to drive on, are simply substandard. While councils are saying, we don’t care, just drive on the main roads, the green revolution of walking, cycling, and using buses will solve the problem.

    This is the general strategy of this country all the time. Use cheap political ‘solutions’ to solve problems that really need to be addressed by infrastructure improvements.

    Unfortunately, no one has the political will to deal with the real problems.

    What should’ve been done since WW2.

    1. Government strategists should’ve looked at the trend of private motor vehicle usage to predict that the old fashioned road system in London was substandard for what a likely modern city would look like.

    2. More investment should’ve taken place outside of London, to encourage the other cities to grow, rather than concentrating everything in old London. (I know, there was pressure to get London to keep up with the other top dog cities of the world).

    3. Any development in London should’ve been coordinated at a city-wide/national level to the point of building large scale communities with high-capacity main roads vs low-capacity residential roads.

    4. More urban transit schemes (particularly metro/underground) should’ve been built. Take a look at the evolution of the underground – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYZ_8x0QALs – It is apparent to anyone that the network today is effectively the same as the 1940s. Sure a few national rail lines have been rebranded as underground/TfL, but it’s effectively the same beast. (One must remember Outer-London has changed drastically since the 1940s, not to mention household sizes have shrunk, so we have far more Heads compared to the past where 1 Head would typically lead 3 other people and thus can pool transportation more efficiently)

    5. Crudely put, there should’ve been a lot more ‘pain’ over the decades of rebuilding, reconfiguring London to support these massive changes.

    Instead now we’re just praying that everyone changes their habits, start walking, start cycling, and use the buses. We’re waiting for Electric Vehicle adoption to increase to the point where we don’t have to worry about congestion, we’re waiting for internet connectivity, and remote-working settings to be so good that no one needs to drive unless for deliveries. Sure these things will eventually happen, but where is the vision and appetite for the large infrastructure changes that need to happen?

    This is why Londoners always complain when there are new developments being built. It’s always the same concerns for overcrowding. The roads are the same, the public transport is the same, but the population increases. The private sector is busy as ever trying to make a profit, but the public sector is operated by same old lawyer-infested risk-averse technophobic nepotistic bunch devoid of any real solutions, only with political ambitions.

    Britain has skimped on infrastructure development for decades. By the time HS2 is completed around 2040. Most Chinese, Indian and even African cities will have better and more modern infrastructure. So what is really Great about Britain?

  11. John Begg says:

    I am a dedicated cyclist and minimal car user. I walk or cycle whenever possible. I do not support the Highbury LTN. The scheme is horrible because there is now massively increased traffic and congestion at the only two remaining routes of Highbury: Blackstock Road to the north and Highbury Grove at the south. (The east west route to and from the A1 at Holloway Road via Drayton park is closed by the LTN and traffic that previous used this route is now funnelled (concentrated) into two pinch points: Rock Street at the north end of Blackstock Road, and the junction of Highbury Grove. With St Pauls Road to the south) Long queues of stationary traffic occur between 8 and 9.30am and from 3pm onwards. I have seen queues on St Joan of Arc School on Highbury Park, all the way along Blackstock Road to Rock Street at Finsbury Park. Journey distances, journey times and pollution have all increased for all (cars, busses, taxis, emergency and commercial traffic.) The traffic queues pass Highbury Grove school and Ambler primary school with an increase in pollution for those children and staff. It is difficult and often dangerous using the pedestrian crossings on Blackstock Road to take children to school because vehicles stop on the crossings. Many of the streets within the LTN were quiet and pleasant before the LTN was imposed (with minimum consultation) e.g. Plimsoll Road, which has become a cul-de sac. Residents on Plimsoll Road do not support the LTN. (I live just outside the LTN.) The roads mentioned above have now become High Traffic Increased Pollution Neighbourhoods. Side road are also congested and suffer increased pollution as traffic ques to join the queues on those roads e.g. Mountgrove Road gets backed between 8 and 9.30am the morning (increased pollution and noise suffered by local residents on this an adjacent streets.) If I need to take my dog to the vet in the car I can no longer choose a morning or afternoon appointment because I do not wish to sit in a que of stationary traffic and suffer increased journey times. I have to make shopping trips outside of the busy times (I need to use the car because I have mobility problems.). I feel trapped. Many disabled people use busses and taxi to get to the shops. Hence residents’ freedom of choice has been reduced. Taxi users suffer increase costs. Many local residents suggest allowing N5 residents to drive through the LTN via number plate recognition scheme. That would re-open the eats west route via Drayton Park. Commercial traffic could still be banned from using this route. Shops on Drayton park are suffering and seem likely to close.
    Highbury Grove and Blackstock cannot be described as main road” because they are typical low capacity London streets. It is no surprise that they have become congested with the increase in traffic causes by the LTN.
    It is not equitable for residents to reduce traffic on certain streets with a consequent increase in traffic on other streets.

  12. John Begg says:

    Comments from local residents on Next Door website:

    I live on Aubert park, I now cannot drive to end of my road ? It’s absurd I need to give myself 30 mins to just get to Holloway Road now ! And this is meant to help pollution- I’m spending more on petrol each month and driving for longer each day ?!?

    I’m fed now up with anyone mentioning how these LTNs will eventually reduce traffic. The evidence from elsewhere is obviously not working here. This is not Utrecht or Walthamstow vilalage. Before anyone mentions Hackney latest claims that theres no traffic dispersal- look at at the list of cherry picked roads they list.

    We’ve had LTNs in place through 2 lockdowns (6 years here in DBT) where traffic volumes have been lower overall, nationwide and in London, for most part of those periods. Despite this we are surrounded by long queues of slow moving traffic.

    We are no where near back to normal car use / traffic numbers. People living on roads affected by high numbers of stationary idleing vehicles, polluting their homes are supposed to sit and take this, waiting for a reduction, which will obviously never come.

    On my road we are now subjected to more traffic, shaking our house, slowed because of road works, which has been moving up the road at the same speed as the traffic. If the adjacent roads were unrestricted this would have reduced the problem.
    If this means temporarily – necessarily moving the problem, so be it. Why should we have all the problem when others benefit? Justifying this is nonsense, the problem had been displaced like the traffic.

    …just displacing traffic to ‘main’ roads (which are still residential, of course) won’t fix the problems.

    I see longer queues at pinch points, this helps nobody and doesn’t justify LTNs existence. If these shemes were designed to increase traffic and pollution then we were see them as a success.

    They’re not doing what the coucils claims or aim to do – they do nothing to afvance climate change other than change climate for those who live on these congested roads.

    What about the slow but massive increase in traffic since about 2010? That’s unacceptable too.

  13. John Begg says:

    Oh, the irony. 08.45 am: As usual, post Highbury LTN, Montgrove Road is backed up with stationary taffic spewing fumes waiting to join the queue of stationary traffic on Blackstock Road heading north to Finsbury Park. The road is so congested that some cyclists are seen cycling on the pavement; others dismounted and walked on the pavement. The local LTN’s have increased congestion outsde of the LTN and made life worse for everyone outside of the LTN. This does not encourage cycling or walking!

  14. Peter Jennings says:

    LTNs are springing up all over the place and are rarely welcome by the local residents. For example, in Lambeth there are new LTNs which force drivers to go miles out of their way to get from one street to an adjacent one on perfectly legitimate business. How can this be an advantage? More miles driven = more pollution emitted. Banning vehicles from one set of streets forces them onto others so one man’s reduction in traffic is another’s extra traffic.
    Taxi drivers are now refusing to pick up or drop off in the area as they claim they can’t get through. Consequently women are having to walk home at night and we all know how well that ended for Sarah Everard only a few hundred meters away from these zones. And what if you need a taxi to get you to, say, hospital?
    Personally I can’t see the logic behind LTNs. People still have to get to their houses and businesses, they still have to deliver goods, they still want to visit friends and relatives coming from afar. Most of the time they can’t do this by walking. The LTNs are not going to significantly cut the overall traffic mileage and pollution in a given area, in fact quite the opposite. It’s fine for some people here to say how much better their particular street is now it’s part of an LTN, but their gain is everyone else’s loss.
    I raised the matter with Bell Ribeiro-Addy, the MP for the southern part of Lambeth, and I have a letter in which she basically agrees with me and states
    “Whilst some have been in favour of the LTNs, a majority have expressed discontent with the implementation, lack of consultation and resulting issues that have since arisen. ”
    Lambeth have published some preliminary surveys of the new LTNs on their website and, whilst they admit to some problems, they fail to mention some of the many real problems that residents and their visitors are experiencing.
    The cynical locals claim it’s just another ploy by the council to extract money from unwary motorists whist achieving chaos, frustration and very little else.

  15. Katharina Herrmann says:

    I live in Blackstock Road, corner Mountgrove Road, N4.

    Like John Beggs, who describes the desperate situation here very accurately in his posts above, I have no car, don’t drive and go everywhere on foot, by bicycle, or on public transport.
    Some studies would probably class me with the beneficiaries of the Highbury West scheme, as allegedly only car users suffer a detriment!

    Blackstock road is a residential street. I do not know why is was ever classified as an A road, perhaps because it is an old local high street with shops. It is in no way fit to carry large amounts of traffic, and the LTN/Highbury Corner situation now creates a corridor of pollution that my son and I breath, day in, day out. On most days, there is gridlock, sometimes for hours. We live in a maisonette above a restaurant, we have no garden, we cannot open the windows anymore (in summer!). Despite this, I have been informed by Islington street services that they will continue
    to conduct their experiment at our expense as they seem fit.
    It is interesting that there has been no admin or other response to John’s eloquent posts. I can confirm that the situation is still as bad as he describes, worse now as temperatures have risen.
    Keep this in mind, next time you read or write a study about the benefits of the LTN scheme. Sadly, this is not Walthamstow.

    • admin says:

      Hi Katherina, thanks for your comment: I allow comments and I generally publish them unless they contain personal abuse (of me or anyone else) but I don’t tend to reply unless I see a specific question asked of me. On boundary roads, just FYI with colleagues I have set up a method to measure changes in congestion as well as car journey times (and am also obtaining data specifically on speeds), so we hope to be able to publish research on this issue too. As with other studies it’ll be a controlled comparison, so we’ll be able to identify whether any changes are due to schemes or to background trends.

  16. Katharina Herrmann says:

    Thanks for clarifying.
    The Brownswood neighbourhood on the Hackney side of Blackstock road has been an LTN in anything but name for about four decades, which allows some insight regarding the long-term impact on boundary roads; Blackstock and Brownswood, in this case, the other two being Seven Sisters and Green Lanes, although those are at least wide enough to operate as major arteries; not that I would wish any more traffic onto them either, the situation is bad enough there.
    We feel like Guinea pigs in an experiment with no way out.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.