Low traffic neighbourhoods

In Hackney, we’ve introduced 19 new low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) since 2020. This was aimed at supporting people to walk, cycle and shop locally and helping to rebuild a greener Hackney after the pandemic. 

Now over 70% of eligible roads in Hackney are covered by a low traffic zone. This is more than any other London borough. 

You can find out more about why this is important by watching our Hackney’s low traffic neighbourhoods YouTube video.

How do low traffic neighbourhoods work 

Low traffic neighbourhoods work by closing roads to through-traffic at specific points, known as traffic filters. In Hackney, these are usually marked by planters in the road. Cyclists, emergency vehicles and waste vehicles are permitted to pass through. In addition, Blue Badge holders are permitted to drive through some of the filters. 

This means that, while all addresses are accessible by car, through-traffic is reduced, creating cleaner, quieter and greener neighbourhoods.  

What’s the background to low traffic neighbourhoods

A quarter of CO2 emissions in Hackney are generated by road transport, despite low car ownership of 30%. Motor vehicles are also a significant contributor to local air pollution. 

By 2019, motor traffic in Hackney drove 40 million miles more than it did in 2013. In line with London-wide trends, most of this rise was borne by unclassified neighbourhood roads, which take the same volume of traffic as main roads. 

Alongside these trends, lockdown rules meant people were spending more time locally Given 70% of households in Hackney don’t own a car, we knew we had to take action to support people to walk, cycle and take public transport and prevent a car-led recovery from the pandemic.

Reducing motor transport use is also essential if we’re to meet local and nationwide net zero targets. 

What’s the effect on traffic and air quality

Averages across our four biggest schemes show traffic reductions of 38% inside LTNs and 2% on boundary roads. Looking at the total number of vehicles across all four areas, these reductions are greater, with 56% reductions in traffic inside LTNs, and a 5% reduction on boundary roads.

We have been assessing the air quality impact of our LTNs. This shows reductions in pollution levels. Across all LTNs and surrounding areas, there are reductions in nitrogen dioxide at 329 of 388 locations.

Are they changing behaviour

LTNs are encouraging people to switch to active travel. In a representative poll of 800 local residents carried out by an independent polling company, a quarter of residents report being encouraged to increase the amount of walking, running and cycling they do as a result of the LTNs. 

In the London Fields low traffic neighbourhood, cycling rates have increased significantly – with cycling up by between 11% and 57% on Richmond Road and Middleton Road. 

Listening to feedback and making changes

We continue to listen to feedback about our low traffic neighbourhoods. 

We have made a significant number of changes to our low traffic neighbourhoods as a result of feedback from local people, including: 

  • introducing exemptions for Blue Badge holders from bus gates on Shepherdess Walk, Downs Road and Richmond Road
  • consulting with residents on plans to reduce traffic in Northwold Road in the Hackney Downs low traffic neighbourhood, and addressing issues on Benthal Road, Jenner Road, Queensdown Road and Cricketfield Road
  • introducing new live traffic monitors across the borough to monitor changes in traffic patterns
  • carrying out engagement on further measures in specific roads in the London Fields LTN, including: Laurel Street, Forest Road, Beechwood Road, Fassett Square and Whiston Road. 

You can email streetscene.enquiries@hackney.gov.uk with any comments.


Ensuring LTNs are fair 

We’re committed to making sure our LTNs are fair. A recent academic study showed that people in Hackney’s LTNs are more likely to be in the more deprived half of the population than in the affluent half. 

In addition, between 40 to 50% of households in our low traffic neighbourhoods live in social housing. 

Can the emergency services access low traffic neighbourhoods 

Yes, we consult with the emergency services before implementing low traffic neighbourhoods. Most filters are camera-enforced so the emergency services can drive straight through.

Equalities impact assessments

All of the low traffic neighbourhoods and school streets we’ve introduced are subject to equalities impact assessments.

See the evidence base used to guide these assessments.

Page updated on: 4 April 2022