Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) have been justified on the basis that they reduce traffic and encourage more active travel (walking and cycling). The main evidence used to support this claim is a report prepared for and paid for by Transport for London. It was written by Dr. Rachel Aldred et al – see link below.
Dr (now Prof.) Aldred from the University of Westminster has written extensively on the benefits of active travel schemes, was actually a trustee of the London Cycling Campaign (LCC) when the report was commissioned and her work has been funded by TfL. The Mayor of London does of course have a policy to encourage more active travel and has been funding LTN schemes. In summary therefore both the commissioning organisation and the researchers were not independent but had an in-built conflict of interest in the outcome of the research.
The report is a “longitudinal” study of three London boroughs – Enfield, Kingston and Waltham Forest over the years 2016 to 2021. The results are based on survey respondents who lived in the area.
How were the survey respondents recruited? Initially by random household sampling but after a very low response rate they added people from TfL databases of Oyster users and cyclists. Hardly an unbiased sample!
Were there actual changes in travel behaviour during the phases of the study? There were reported reductions in minutes of car travel in the past week but also reductions in minutes of cycling and walking. But this was a period when the Covid epidemic was rampant and there was much more working from home, and avoidance of travel in general.
Were the changes in travel modes statistically significant anyway and were there adequate control groups? We do not know.
In summary this report is quite useless as a scientific study of the impact of LTNs.
People and Places Final Report – available from here: https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/publications-and-reports/cycling-and-walking
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