Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Closes 31 Dec 2021

Opened 1 Jul 2020


Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) are being introduced by London’s boroughs as part of the Streetspace for London Plan, which is part of London’s emergency response to the coronavirus pandemic, in line with national government guidance. They are areas that keep streets open for residents, businesses and visitors, especially to walking, cycling and other active travel modes; but which discourage other traffic from using neighbourhood streets as a short-cut to get to main roads, also known as rat-running.  

This page explains why and how LTN schemes are being introduced. Information is available here about what LTN schemes have been introduced, and how you can comment on them

Traffic in London  

Traffic in London is a significant problem. It is a major contributor to our dangerous air quality and climate crisis, with around half of London’s air pollution caused by motor vehicles.   

Every year, more than 3,500 people are killed and seriously injured on London’s streets and more than 80% of them are people walking, cycling or on motorbikes and mopeds.  

In the last 10 years, traffic on side streets has increased by 69% while traffic levels on the main roads in London has stayed mostly the same. It is likely that navigation apps showing short-cuts have contributed to this increase, along with a rise in home deliveries. If this increase in traffic in neighbourhoods continues without action, streets will become increasingly unsafe for people walking and cycling.  

Why are Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes being introduced?  

Most side streets are not designed to carry large volumes of fast-moving vehicles, which often occurs when people take short-cuts through neighbourhoods. There is often not enough space on these streets for vehicles to pass each other or for people cycling to travel separately from motor vehicles, and there are generally fewer traffic lights for people to safely cross the street.  

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods are extremely important to:  

  • Reduce traffic and road danger
  • Improve air quality
  • Help and encourage everyone who can do so to walk and cycle rather than travel by car  

Being active is an important way to improve your health and wellbeing. This is crucial while public transport capacity is limited by social distancing and it will help to reduce the burden on the NHS from non-coronavirus related illness and injuries. Helping and encouraging people to avoid travelling by car will benefit Londoners living outside as well as within LTNs, and it will free up space for trips that do need to be made by car, as well as essential freight and the emergency services. 

How are Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes being introduced?
The changes being made as part of the Streetspace for London programme are temporary, or have been introduced on an experimental basis. We and London’s boroughs must make changes to London’s roads and neighbourhoods as quickly as possible to ensure people have safe, clean, healthy, reliable and socially distant ways to move around during the pandemic, and as part of our recovery.
Earlier this year the Government asked local authorities all over the country, including London’s boroughs, to deliver changes in their communities to help everyone who can do so to walk and cycle more often as an alternative to the car. TfL provided guidance to London's boroughs about how to create Low Traffic Neighbourhood schemes; however final design and decision-making is the responsibility of the relevant borough.
Value for money
Low Traffic Neighbourhoods can be introduced at relatively low cost because of the simple engineering involved, and they can also be changed and removed with little additional cost.
They bring significant benefits in a very cost-effective way, which is part of the reason they are being trialled in many places across London.
Part of a wider programme
LTNs are being introduced as part of the wider Streetspace for London programme, which includes improvements for walking, cycling and buses on main roads as well as within neighbourhoods.
This is in addition to long-standing work to make London a healthier, safer, more inclusive, cleaner and greener city. The Mayor of London has a strategy to encourage 80% of all trips to be made by active or sustainable modes.
A Vision Zero road danger reduction programme and air quality improvement programme  are already in place to ensure safety and air quality benefits are delivered to all Londoners, not just those living within LTNs.
Listening and learning
We are working with London’s boroughs to monitor LTNs to see what the impacts are, both locally and across the city as a whole. 
We and London’s boroughs are listening carefully to all the comments we receive about the various temporary or experimental schemes we are introducing. The best way to comment about any Low Traffic Neighbourhood scheme is to contact the relevant Borough. 

We are planning to carry out some surveys of people’s opinions of several LTN schemes across London. We will keep this page up to date as we complete our work.


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