Myth: “LTNs unfairly increase traffic on boundary roads.”

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs), also known as Filtered Neighbourhoods or Active Neigbourhoods, involve restricting motor traffic on residential streets to access-only, often by placing bollards or planters (called “modal filters”). The complaint often made is that this will increase traffic on surrounding streets; though these streets are usually main roads if the scheme is designed properly. In fact, filtered neighbourhoods are nothing new, but the problem of rat-running through minor streets has become far more significant in the last 10 years, since in-car sat-navs became common.

Here is an example of a filtered neighbourhood in Astley Bridge that was filtered decades ago, partly by design and partly by adding filters as modifications:

The filters here prevent drivers using the residential streets as “rat-runs” to drive between the two main roads, Blackburn Road and Belmont Road, to avoid Astley Bridge junction (at the bottom of the map). Arguing that streets should not be filtered because it would force traffic onto surrounding main roads is exactly equivalent to arguing that traffic should be reduced on these main roads by opening up the residential streets in this neighbourhood to rat-running drivers.

In cases where traffic is pushed onto other residential streets that aren’t main roads, then the scheme is not properly designed and should be improved, not abandoned.

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