Why resident exemptions don't work

Tash explains why resident exemptions for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods work against the objective of the schemes.

Why resident exemptions don't work

It's well known that Low Traffic Neighbourhoods have a whole range of benefits for people. There’s evidence of this from Waltham Forest, and you can see the quieter, cleaner streets for yourself around Islington's LTNs. Where the streets are quieter, people naturally make more use of them - I’ve seen children playing on their streets, people using mobility scooters in the road because it’s now safe enough to do so, and more people using the space in general.

Recently, however, I've heard of people calling for resident exemptions for Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, which would work against the overall objective of the scheme. When it's a little bit more inconvenient to drive, people are most likely to leave the car behind for short journeys like going to the shops or doing the school run. When people switch to walking or cycling for a journey instead of driving, that traffic disappears, or "evaporates".

If residents are exempt from modal filters and can still drive like before, they will not change the way they travel, meaning that traffic evaporation won't happen. This means the benefits of LTNs such as fewer vehicles on the road, less noise and more space for people won't materialise. To tackle high traffic volumes and other issues caused by high car use, it wouldn’t make sense to allow residents to continue to drive as easily inside an LTN as they could elsewhere.

Published in Islington Gazette on 6 March 2021