Cities around the world are now competing in terms of liveability. At Living Streets we think that central to this is ensuring our streets are walkable.
Motor traffic cutting through our residential streets has a serious impact on the health and quality of life of people living there – too much traffic, too fast, too noisy, too much pollution.
Issues of air and noise pollution are very real. But the biggest negative of through or “ratrun” traffic is the strangling effect it has on people spending time outside their homes in their community.
In the space of two generations, we’ve seen children’s roaming distance collapse as motor vehicle volumes have rocketed.
Children don’t play out any more, and neighbours don’t chat to each other. But the effects are not felt equally.
Infrastructure in deprived areas is less likely to support walking and cycling, even though people who live there are more likely to need to walk and cycle for transport. These communities that most need low traffic neighbourhoods are not usually the ones to ask for them. We want to bring everyone on board to enjoy the benefits LTNs bring.
We’ve known for decades that the lower the traffic on a street, the more community interaction and healthy physical activity we see.
Because of that more and more councils and residents are now working together to make residential streets work better for the people who live on them.
Places where through motor vehicle traffic has been removed or reduced – so only residents and a few deliveries and services have access – are great for everyone.
These are networks of quieter streets where children play out, neighbours catch up, air pollution is lower, and walking and cycling are the natural choice for everyday journeys.
And it turns out that cutting through traffic on side streets doesn’t add significantly to congestion on main roads.
Plus it’s cheaper than building new roads and can be trialled for a period of time to see how the local community likes it.
While introducing low traffic neighbourhoods is not without its challenges, examples from across London have shown they do work and once in, are incredibly popular.
This guide is from London Cycling Campaign and Living Streets and draws on expertise from those who’ve designed, implemented and campaigned for award-winning low traffic neighbourhoods.
Local Living Streets Groups up and down the country are campaigning to introduce low-traffic neighbourhoods so that streets become attractive, safe and healthy places.