Low Traffic Neighbourhoods: what, why and where?

Woman cycling down a Low Traffic Neighbourhood street

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been in London since the 1970s and more were introduced in spring 2020. You might already live in a LTN or be near one! πŸ“

We’ve answered the what, why and where questions to tell you everything you need to know about London’s LTNs. πŸ‘‡

What are Low Traffic Neighbourhoods?

Cyclist riding past a Low Traffic Neighbourhood sign.

LTNs help to make streets around London easier to walk and cycle on by stopping cars, vans and other vehicles from using quiet roads as shortcuts. They’re currently being introduced as part of temporary measures to create more space for walking and cycling to allow people to travel safely during the pandemic.

LTNs are also helping to deliver the Mayor of London’s plan to make London a healthier, safer, more inclusive, cleaner and greener city – and make 80% of all trips by active or sustainable modes by 2041. πŸ’š

How are Low Traffic Neighbourhoods funded?

Recent LTNs were created through funding from the Department of Transport. Many boroughs introduced trial LTNs in response to the pandemic.

Why are Low Traffic Neighbourhoods good?

Woman and her child cycling past Low Traffic Neighbourhood signs.

They reduce traffic and road danger

Most side streets aren’t designed for lots of fast-moving vehicles. There are fewer traffic lights to cross the road safely and not enough space for vehicles to pass each other, or for people cycling.

More than 80% of deaths on London’s streets are people walking, cycling or on motorbikes and mopeds. If traffic keeps increasing without changes in neighbourhoods, streets will become more unsafe for people to walk and cycle on.

They encourage people to walk or cycle rather than travel by car

Being active improves both your mental and physical health. By encouraging people to walk or cycle instead of using the car, there will be more space for essential car trips, deliveries and for the emergency services both in and outside of LTNs.

“As a disabled person living in Lambeth, I have absolutely loved the new LTNs appearing all around me. I am lucky to have the option not only to drive but also to handcycle. 

“Though I have been cycling for some time, my rides used to be limited to a few short trusted routes (mostly local, in and around Brixton/Herne Hill/Dulwich). I would generally fall back on using the car for longer trips because it was quicker and felt safer or because I did not have the confidence or time for complex route planning which might still find me having to negotiate a dangerous junction etc.

“Since the LTNs were put into place, I have been venturing much further afield, including into central London, Greenwich-way or over to the Wandle Trail in Sutton. I am able to connect much more easily to some of TfL’s Cycleways which I knew existed but didn’t know how to reach safely. I’m very happy that I can now cycle (and therefore exercise) so much more, thanks to quieter, safer streets to ride on.”

Isabelle Clements, Director of Wheels for Wellbeing

They improve air quality

Traffic in London is a major contributor to our dangerous air quality and climate crisis. Places where traffic has been removed or reduced creates quieter streets with improved air quality where children play outside, neighbours catch up and walking and cycling are normal for everyday journeys. 🚢 🚴 πŸ§‘β€πŸ¦½

Hear what local residents think of Camden’s Low Traffic Neighbourhood

Do Low Traffic Neighbourhoods affect the emergency services?

Each month, we meet with local authorities and London’s emergency services to discuss road changes and any issues that they may be causing. This gives the emergency services awareness of the schemes and we review response time data to identify issues and adjust schemes if needed.

Do Low Traffic Neighbourhoods just push traffic elsewhere?

Any increases in traffic are unlikely to be permanent. We’re paying close attention to changes in traffic levels and bus journey times in and around LTNs and comparing them with areas where LTNs haven’t been introduced. We may make changes to help traffic adjust, including changing traffic light timings or adding more signage.

Evidence from a University of Westminster study, which analysed three years of data, shows that better conditions for walking and cycling encourages people to stop using their car so much. However, it takes time for people to adjust to new road layouts and ways of travelling. Where LTNs have already been introduced, evidence shows people adjust their routes, the times they travel and the way they travel.

Where are Low Traffic Neighbourhoods?

LTNs are in many areas across London – including Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Hounslow, Lambeth, Newham and Waltham Forest. They make great walking and cycling routes for everyone! 🚲

You can see all the LTNs on the Space to Move map. See ‘Street closed to vehicles’ and ‘Restricted through traffic’. πŸ“

People walking down a Low Traffic Neighbourhood street.

Share your feedback

We’re working with London’s boroughs to monitor feedback on LTNs and see how they impact people, local areas and the City as a whole.

Contact your local borough to share your feedback or let us know in the comments. πŸ‘‡

9 Comments

  1. It has been fantastic that so many low traffic neighbourhoods were created in 2020, including in some outer London boroughs that are very car-dependent. Let’s keep the momentum up for 2021!

  2. so many people using cars unnecessarily. Taxis driving around causing polution. We need more of this FAST

  3. Can they be rolled out across the country please!? It’s not just London that needs this.

  4. The LTN concept is an excellent idea as it reduces pollution and works ideally where rat-runs are used by drivers instead of main roads. Harrow Council adopted these LTN’s but subsequently withdrew them citing that majority of the residents did not support their introduction, which is not necessarily true. Apparently, Transport For London (TfL) provided funding for LTN’s at the start of the pandemic as a temporary initiative to encourage modal shift by introducing strategically placed experimental road closures. This was a waste of TfL funding for experimentation purposes as funds could have been used to improve road safety throughout Harrow. TfL had the right concept. Shame that Harrow squandered this opportunity.

  5. Great webpage TfL! LTN’s should be in every area and drivers should not be allowed to use any residential streets as shortcuts.

  6. Keep going. We need more not less. I see a tangible difference in the numbers of people walking and cycling. More cargo bikes and buggies being pulled through our streets.

    My brother visited London over 35 years ago from sleepy Nova Scotia. He did a tour of all the great sites by bike and came back to mine and asked β€˜Why isn’t everyone on bikes?” Well now they are.

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