The temporary Low Traffic Neigbourhoods (LTNs) were introduced as an emergency response to coronavirus. It is hoped that by making it easier to get around by walking or cycling the LTNs and other transport interventions (like wider pavements in Brixton town centre etc.) would take the pressure off public transport and leave the roads clear for those who needed them most – like key workers and those who use vehicles for work or because they are disabled or have mobility issues. Normally such measure would only be introduced after statutory consultation, but the Government instructed councils to introduce these changes, withdrew funding for any other traffic calming schemes (like speedhumps) and asked councils to undertake consultations later in the process than usual. We have been clear that there is only a case for turning any of the temporary schemes into permanent schemes if there is monitoring of the impact for the community to be able to see exactly what was happening as a result.
The traffic order bring the scheme into force was implemented on the 18th January 2021 after a four month introductory period with a live consultation, and Stage One of the monitoring of Tulse Hill LTN has now been published. The independent technical analysis is particularly interesting to read as it highlights areas for improvement and some of the early changes we have seen locally. Data was adjusted to take into account the impact of coronavirus restrictions etc. Within the Tulse Hill LTN area, car usage was down by 35% and HGVs were down by 17% – whilst cycling was up by 69%. On the periphery of the LTN area car usage was up by 7% and HGV usage up by 15% – whilst cycling was also up by 43%. Overall, car usage has gone down in our area by 14% and HGV usage is down by 1% – whilst cycling is up by 59%. The data for the roads around the LTN area shows us that there have only been small increases in the number of cars using Brixton Hill and little change on Tulse Hill – suggesting the majority of the increases are journeys travelling East/West and likely to be non-local.
The experience in other areas that have introduced similar schemes is that over time there should be further reductions in vehicle traffic. More monitoring will now take place to assess the impact on traffic flows and pollution levels and this will be published fully in the coming months. Public meetings have been held locally (the next is on 26th May) and for individual TRAs – though these have had to be online due to COVID-19 restrictions. To be kept up to date on what is going on and how you can get involved you can sign up to the dedicated LTN newsletter here.