Low traffic neighbourhoods: the biggest transport controversy of the century – LabourList
Christian Wolmar23rd October, 2020, 4:45 pm
It has become the biggest transport controversy of the century. Not rail nationalisation, not the £27bn roads programme, not even the £100bn on HS2, but the humble ‘low traffic neighbourhood’. Or LTNs, as they are known in the jargon that was previously only used by highway engineers and cycle campaigners.
The fundamental idea is simple. By cutting off through traffic in minor residential roads, local residents will enjoy a quieter environment, less pollution, reduced danger from traffic and be more likely to walk or cycle. The road system will be filtered so that cyclists and pedestrians can get through the barriers but cars and vans cannot.
This has implications far beyond transport. Having less traffic going past your door makes life better in lots of ways, from improving sleep to making for a more friendly neighbourhood. Research in the 1970s in San Francisco revealed that there was a strong correlation between the busyness of a street and loneliness. People on quieter streets were far more likely to know their neighbours than those on busy ones.