LTNs in Lambeth found to reduce distance driven by over 6% - ‘widespread rollout’ suggested
The researchers said their findings suggest residents “started driving less once their area became an LTN”.
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The “widespread rollout” of low-traffic neighbourhoods (LTN) in inner-city areas could make an “important contribution towards reducing how much residents drive”, an independent study has suggested.
Authored by academics from Imperial College, the University of Westminster and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the study found that four Lambeth LTNs introduced in 2020 have successfully cut driving levels among residents living within the zones.
In the year to March 2023, the data shows that those living in the LTNs were driving 0.7km less daily than in 2020, while residents in the wider control area recorded an increase of 0.6km.
Equating to a total difference of 6.4% between the two groups, the researchers wrote: “In summary, our findings suggest that residents in Lambeth started driving less once their area became an LTN.
“Notably, our outcome measure captures total past-year driving, including trips that the Lambeth LTNs are less likely to impact (eg, inter-city trips, or travel outside London). It is plausible that for shorter and more local trips the relative decrease in LTN residents’ driving would be greater than the estimated 6% decrease in total past-year driving.
“This suggests that, in Lambeth and other similar inner-city areas, widespread roll-out of LTNs could make an important contribution towards reducing how much residents drive, and towards reducing local volumes of motor traffic.”
The paper says the changes appeared to be behavioural, with the same residents reducing their driving rather than frequent car users moving elsewhere. It says there is no evidence the impacts differed depending on an area’s affluence, nor that traffic was pushed onto roads near the LTNs.
Cllr Rezina Chowdhury, cabinet member for sustainable Lambeth and Clean Air, said: “This is the first major study to consider how low-traffic neighbourhoods can help change peoples’ behaviour, so they are less reliant on their cars.
“We are delighted that an independent study carried out by experts in their fields shows our approach is having an effect and an overall six percent reduction is significant.”
The council said it has invested £16 million to improve its transport infrastructure, including new healthy routes, and adopted a number of policies to tackle the climate crisis.
One of the researchers behind the report, Professor Rachel Aldred, recently spoke to LondonWorld about some of the most common misconceptions surrounding LTNs, including the concern that they will simply move traffic elsewhere and so just clog up other, nearby roads.