Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
What is a low traffic neighbourhood?
A low traffic neighbourhood (LTN) is a residential area where ‘through’ or ‘shortcut’ motor traffic is discouraged or removed, and the remaining space is improved for residents. Physical barriers such as planters or signs (also known as modal filters) are strategically placed to allow walking and cycling through a certain street or area, but restrict access for motor vehicles. These roads remain ‘access-only’ for vehicles - meaning people can drive in and out, but the road can no longer be used as a shortcut.
Why are they being introduced in the borough?
Kingston Council declared a Climate Emergency on 25 June 2019 and is committed to addressing issues that affect the environment and health of its communities, with the resources it has available. This includes tackling climate change, improving air quality and enabling our residents and visitors to use sustainable travel options.
Our vision is to create a ‘cleaner, greener Kingston’ and our streets play a major role in this plan. We want our roads to be pleasant spaces where we can breathe clean air, walk around safely and feel connected to our community.
Work is underway on a number of important projects to help achieve this including: improving our cycling infrastructure and introducing more electric vehicle charging points to reduce reliance on high polluting vehicles.
Our low traffic neighbourhood trials are being introduced to help tackle through-traffic on busy residential roads to create safer, quieter spaces for pedestrians and cyclists.
These schemes will make it easier and safer for people to travel locally by foot or on bike for everyday needs, helping people to maintain good health and improved wellbeing.
Where are they being introduced and when?
The outbreak of COVID-19 has seen a complete transformation in people’s daily habits, with travel being significantly impacted and more people than ever before walking and cycling. This has accelerated the delivery of a number of our schemes, including our low traffic neighbourhoods. The new schemes we are trialling are:
Kingston Town - Albert Road - launched on 7 September 2020
Albert Road is regularly used as a shortcut by motorists trying to avoid the main road junction with Cambridge Road. A planter has been installed at the Albert Road/Hawks Road junction to make this residential road safer by preventing vehicle access. To achieve this, a section of Albert Road’s one-way system has been reversed (southbound) and alterations made to the cycle lane (northbound).
Kingston Town - Lower Ham Road - launched on 7 September 2020
Paths and roads are narrow in this area and traffic congestion is common. A planter has been installed on Lower Ham Road (between Woodside Road and Bank Lane) to prevent through-traffic and minimise vehicles using the road. There is access for vehicles to properties and businesses in one direction.
Surbiton - King Charles Road - launched on 14 September 2020
A barrier has been installed on King Charles Road (between Hollyfield Road and Beaconsfield Road) to prevent the road being used as a through-route (shortcut) for motor traffic.
Where is the money coming from?
These measures are being delivered through national government and Transport for London (TfL) funding that has been designated to support active travel. Both streams of funding had strict timelines in place - all schemes had to be in place by the end of September 2020. These tight deadlines have dictated the method of delivery.
How do these schemes align with existing borough transport policies?
In 2019 the borough produced its current version of the Local Implementation Plan (called LIP3), which sets out how we intend to manage our road network and make improvements in line with the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, the plan covers the period until 2041.
This is a statutory document that all London boroughs must have in place. LIP3 included a number of set aims including that our streets will be Healthy Streets and more Londoners will travel actively; our streets will be safe and secure; and that our streets will be used more efficiently and have less traffic on them. There are other outcomes that relate to public transport, but it is important to identify that the proposals being brought forward are in line with our policies.
How long will the measures be in place?
These measures will be in place for an initial trial period of six months, at which stage the measures will be reviewed. Subject to the feedback received, they could be extended for a period of time (up to 18 months from implementation), become permanent or be removed.
How were these locations identified?
These locations were chosen based on a number of factors including previous correspondence received from residents, as well as recommendations from engineers and planners. Sites were visited by highways engineers, who were confident that these locations could benefit from the new measures.
Why have residents not been consulted first?
Our low traffic neighbourhoods are being delivered through national government and Transport for London (TfL) funding that has been designated to support active travel. Both streams of funding have strict timelines in place.
Proposals from all London boroughs had to be submitted, designed and delivered quickly, all of which meant that we were unable to follow our normal practice of extensive consultation prior to schemes being considered. Funding bids were submitted in June 2020 and projects had to be in place by September 2020.
These measures are being introduced on a trial basis for six months using Experimental Traffic Orders (ETOs), which can be brought into force quickly, using low cost and temporary materials. The schemes are being monitored for effectiveness and residents are invited to share feedback throughout the trial period. Appropriate modifications and adjustments will be made to the schemes during this time, in light of feedback received.
Approximately two weeks before the schemes were implemented, local residents received a letter informing them of the new trials.
The Traffic Management Orders were also advertised in the Surrey Comet and the London Gazette.
How can I provide feedback?
The measures are now in place and throughout the trial period you can share your views and comments via our ‘low traffic neighbourhoods’ consultation on our Let’s Talk portal.
If you would like to submit a formal objection to a LTN, this must be submitted within six months of the scheme launching. Formal objections can be made by emailing [email protected] referencing the scheme as follows:
- Kingston Town - Albert Road - KingMap0045
- Kingston Town - Lower Ham Road - TMO-P302
- Surbiton - King Charles Road - TMO-P306
How will the council be monitoring the success of the schemes?
All immediately affected roads, plus surrounding roads will be monitored. Traffic count tubes will be installed and the data gathered will be compared to previous figures. We will also be gathering feedback from residents on our Let’s Talk Portal and carrying out site observations.
What are you doing about the displaced traffic on surrounding roads?
We appreciate that there will be variations to traffic patterns as these schemes take a little while to settle down. This is why these measures have been introduced as trials, and we will be monitoring the changes to traffic patterns before/after, before any decision is taken to extend the trial, make it permanent or remove it.
If my road is closed, how will emergency vehicles be able to access it?
The safety of our residents is a key priority. Kingston Council worked closely with the emergency services before each scheme was installed to make sure they can still access every street, and will continue to work with them to see how the trial measures work in practice.
Can I still drive inside a low traffic neighbourhood?
Yes, this is not a pedestrianisation scheme. It is vital that people who need to use their cars, such as blue badge holders, can still do so. Residents are still able to access their property by car, as are visitors, deliveries from outside the area and service vehicles such as waste collection trucks, but their routes may need to change. The aim is to deter through-traffic, not remove all traffic.
Will there be exemptions for residents or blue badge holders?
The measures create physical barriers to prevent through-traffic using certain routes. This means that all local traffic, including blue badge holders may need to use alternative routes to get into and out of their residential areas.
Were certified risk assessments carried out ahead of implementation of all of the trials?
The schemes were designed in line with legal requirements and current road safety standards. A full road safety audit will be carried out on the temporary layout if a decision is taken to make a scheme permanent.
Were air pollution tests carried out ahead of implementation of all of the trials?
Robust air quality monitoring requires a minimum of six months of data both before and after the introduction of a highway intervention, to account for the impact of the weather and other confounding variables. The requirement for expedited delivery of these schemes removed the possibility of collecting adequate baseline air quality monitoring data.
In order to circumvent this challenge the council has chosen to carry out air quality modelling around the low traffic neighbourhoods. Modelling will assess the impact of the change in traffic patterns on air quality at sensitive receptors both within and outside the neighbourhoods.
The model uses traffic data collected before and during implementation of the LTNs. This data is translated into air pollution emissions using The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Emissions - Factor Toolkit. Emissions are then used to derive concentrations of key pollutants at user-defined sensitive receptors. Model outputs are verified and adjusted using data from our existing, permanent network of air quality monitors.
This is a well-established, industry standard methodology that eliminates the impact of confounding variables, allowing the impact of the LTNs to be isolated and quantitatively assessed.
What will happen after the 6 month trials comes to an end?
Kingston council is legally obliged to formally consider all formal objections received during the first six months of the scheme’s operation. The council will also be carefully considering all feedback received on Lets Talk and traffic data collated during the trials at the relevant neighbourhood committees in the summer, before deciding whether the changes should be extended for a period of time (up to 18 months from implementation), made permanent or removed.
How can residents stay informed on any further developments?
The latest information will be added to this webpage. Once available, the results from the residents survey and data comparisons will also be uploaded here.
If I have a question who can I speak to?
If you have any further questions in the meantime, please email [email protected].