Is there any benefit to low traffic neighbourhoods?

A neighbourhood street in the UK.

January 31, 2022

MP Smarter Travel recently had the pleasure of working alongside London Borough of Newham and London Borough of Waltham Forest, in delivering stakeholder engagement for their Low Traffic Neighbourhood (LTN) scheme. This scheme represented London’s first cross-boundary LTN.

An LTN is an area of streets where through traffic is discouraged via the installation of modal filters, such as bollards. London Borough of Newham and Waltham Forest created physical barriers using large planters and bollards at the end of specific streets, posting new signage and installing cameras enforcement throughout the Maryland and Odessa areas.

Newham wished to carry out engagement work with a range of stakeholders, from business owners and minicab firms, to local residents and visitors of the area. The aim was to gather their views of the LTN measures and record the differences it has made to their everyday lives.

Throughout September and October 2021, our consultants conducted in-person engagement at hotspots of high footfall to record views from the public. Door-to-door engagement was also carried out at over 100 local businesses within the LTN areas. Local minicab firms were contacted either by telephone or email, and their responses were recorded. 

How the general public and private businesses responded

Of all the businesses that we engaged, many were in favour of the LTN scheme. Common reasons were the reduced traffic, enhanced road safety and lower pollution levels it had engendered. Increased footfall was also seen as a success of the scheme, bringing more customers to the brick-and-mortar businesses of the area.

Hotspot engagement results showed a more varied majority opinion. Though local residents and visitors criticised some parts of the scheme, there was a general consensus that residential roads benefited from improved road safety and air quality. Those that held these views also largely agreed that it made the environment more conducive to walking and cycling.

Traffic and air quality results

The Maryland and Odessa areas have now experienced some pleasing benefits as a result of the LTN measures. There has been a 76 per cent and 61 per cent decrease in traffic on internal roads respectively, and seven per cent better air quality in both areas.

How could residents and businesses make the most of LTNs?

  • Businesses would benefit from the use of cargo bikes, a logistics solution that benefits from LTNs as users gain a competitive advantage by being able to pass through filtered streets.
  • LTN walking maps showing safe walking and cycling routes would be a great addition. Maps would highlight the new safe and quiet routes for residents and visitors.
  • Educational sessions at local schools, offering workshops and classroom activities, would help primary and secondary school students have a better understanding of air quality, active travel and road safety, and continue to lead healthy lives.

As a result of the increase in active travel and cleaner air, London Borough of Newham has announced that the Maryland and Odessa LTNs will now be made permanent.

If you are looking to implement a LTN in your area, or want to gather stakeholder feedback on trial LTNs, contact MP Smarter Travel on 0207 960 2553 or email info@mpsmartertravel.co.uk.