I can’t easily walk or cycle...

It isn’t always possible for everyone to walk and cycle, that’s why it’s crucial that vehicle access to all properties is maintained and only through-traffic is restricted.

Can I still use my car?

Regardless of how pleasant and safe the street environment is for walking and cycling, residents living within LTNs still need to able to access their homes by car as previously and can still drive to and from outside their front door if they need or choose to do so.

It’s also fair to say, however, that disabled and non-disabled people alike may choose to travel a different way given a better environment. According to the National Travel Survey, in 2017-18 over 40% of urban journeys were under 2 miles [11]. LTNs have been shown to be key in enabling more people to walk and cycle around.

And if those who are able don’t choose a different mode of transport, they should still benefit from less congested roads due to others opting to make this shift. Lower levels of traffic overall therefore also benefit those who choose or have no other option than to drive.

Our aim is to get 100% of the population cycling 10% of the time, instead of only 10% cycling 100% of the time. By doing this, the amount of journeys driven will reduce significantly, freeing up the roads for people who need to use them and helping to reduce air pollution.
Enjoy Waltham Forest

In this online public event held by Oxfordshire Liveable Streets, a resident of Waltham Forest explains how the LTNs have affected the ways people travel in her area [short local journeys are discussed from 19:20]:

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LTNs have been shown to be key in providing people with more options for travelling around their neighbourhoods. Research following implementation of Enjoy Waltham Forest shows that more people are cycling. In a 2016 resident insight survey, 17% (approx. 46,100 people) said they cycle, compared to 12% (approx. 32,500 people) the year before – and two-thirds (73%) said they cycle at least once a week, up from 62% in 2015 [71].

Won’t elderly people, people transporting young children and disabled people be disadvantaged by LTNs?

A key element of LTNs is that they ensure residents can continue drive to their homes as previously. It’s also worth remembering, though, that everyone in these groups has different wants and needs and our streets should enable every individual or family to choose how they move. In fact, these groups in our communities are among those who would benefit the most from LTNs, keeping in mind that:

  • not everyone in these groups can drive or has access to a car (24% of households don’t have access to a car [72] and 65% of those in the lowest 10% income group don’t own a car [73] and [73b]) and, even if they do, they may prefer not always to drive or be driven where they want to go by somebody else
  • many disabled people would prefer to travel independently by using (for example) mobility scooters, electric wheelchairs or adapted bikes, but our streets are currently unwelcoming and inconvenient for people using mobility aids
  • people pushing buggies or using mobility aids often find pavements are blocked by parked cars/delivery vehicles, uneven because of driveways, and are sometimes too narrow to allow a buggy/mobility scooter and a walker to pass in the same spot; at the same time, our roads are difficult to cross due to a lack of safe crossings with limited waiting space and long waiting times, are dangerous due to high traffic volumes and speeds, or unnavigable due to congestion: LTNs create quieter, safer roads giving people the choice to use alternatives to cars if they so wish
  • some people whose disabilities affect their mobility find that bikes can help them get around; cycles are often used as a mobility aid by people who find walking difficult, people who can’t walk far and even those who can’t walk at all
  • sales of e-bikes are soaring, providing people who may have previously been unable to travel by bicycle with a new way to get around [74]
  • people with visual or hearing impairment, for whom road traffic is a particular challenge, are safer and can get around more easily when there’s less traffic and it’s travelling more slowly

In short, it’s all about having more than one choice about how you move around your neighbourhood. LTNs provide more options for people seeking an alternative to driving for their shorter (or longer) journeys, while people who choose or need to drive will still be able to and with reduced traffic levels overall their journeys should be much improved.