Back when Headington Liveable Streets started in spring 2020, the main source of information available nationally on the effects of implementing low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) came from the London Borough of Waltham Forest.
The pandemic accelerated the need for safer streets for walking, wheeling and cycling as more space was needed for social distancing on pavements and people sought alternatives to public transport. This led to the implementation of many more LTN trials around the country, including three here in Oxford in Florence Park, Church Cowley and Temple Cowley.
What’s happened in 2020-2021?
Some of the trials and consultations launched at the beginning of the pandemic have since run their course, with positive outcomes leading several more councils to make temporary LTN measures permanent in late 2021/early 2022. Here’s a brief round-up of what’s been happening:
- Trials, consultations and monitoring of a number of London schemes implemented early in the pandemic concluded towards the end of 2021. Where schemes are meeting their aims of reducing traffic, improving air quality and encouraging walking and cycling, local authorities have announced they will make the measures permanent (see the figures available on the impact of the schemes via the links), including:
- Homerton, Hoxton West, Hackney Downs, London Fields and Walford Road (Hackney)
- Bowes Park and Fox Lane (Enfield)
- Oval to Stockwell, Railton, Streatham Hill and Tulse Hill (Lambeth)
- King Charles Road and Lower Ham Road (Kingston)
- Lewisham and Lee Green (Lewisham)
- Clerkenwell Green (Islington)
- Arlington Road (Camden)
- Dulwich Streetspace scheme (Southwark)
- Fisher’s Lane remains traffic-free (Hounslow)
- Forest Gate and South Leytonstone and Maryland and Odessa (the first cross-borough schemes – Newham and Waltham Forest)
- Markhouse, Hilltop, Dudley Road and Chandos Avenue (Waltham Forest); catch up on life in the Waltham Forest ‘Mini-Holland’ LTNs five years on
- Trials are ongoing in the boroughs of Islington, Camden, Lewisham, Hackney and Lambeth
- 3 new LTN trials were announced for Haringey in December 2021 (implementation planned for early 2022); 2 more were announced in March 2022
- Other UK cities that have made LTNs permanent in early 2022 are Newcastle (Five Bridges)
- Cities in which LTN trials are still underway include Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle, York, Sheffield, Bath and Northeast Somerset and Oxford
How’s it going?
- The Department for Transport published the Low Traffic Neighbourhood Residents’ Survey on trials in Birmingham, Salford, Ipswich and Bournemouth in January 2021
- Sustrans published a guide to the evidence around low traffic neighbourhoods in January 2021
- In July 2021, the government published its Gear Change: one year on review of the evidence gathered from the active travel measures (including LTNs) introduced since July 2020
- In August 2021, the government warned local authorities that removed trials prematurely without allowing time for the schemes’ impact to be evaluated that they should expect to receive a reduced level of funding, not just on active travel
It’s widely recognised that LTNs are only one part of the measures needed to reduce overall traffic volumes and poor air quality in congested urban areas, which is why cities such as London (Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone), Birmingham (Clean Air Zone, Transport Plan), Manchester (Clean Air Zone), Bath, Bradford, Bristol, Portsmouth, Sheffield (Clean Air Zones), Cambridge (city-wide circulation plan) and Oxford (Zero Emission Zone, zero carbon transport network) have already implemented or are working on proposals for city-wide emissions and traffic management schemes.
In Headington, we await the outcome of the Cowley trials and consultations and look forward to the start of further LTN trials down the hill in East Oxford in April/May 2022.
You can keep up to date with Oxfordshire County Council’s delivery of active travel schemes and the status of its progress regarding Headington here: