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Traffic Reductions in Outer London's 'Mini-Hollands' Curtail Vehicle Ownership

An analysis of areas designated as "low traffic neighborhoods" shows a decrease in vehicle ownership rates, a promising sign for the traffic-choked metropolis.
December 17, 2020, 5am PST | Diana Ionescu | @aworkoffiction
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Inspired by the Netherlands' famously bike-friendly urban infrastructure, London's Mini-Hollands program funded Dutch-style improvements in three outer London boroughs. With London consistently ranking in the top ten most congested cities in the world, city leaders hope to emulate their continental neighbors and reduce the need for private cars in and around the city.

The program introduces traffic calming interventions, sometimes removing vehicle traffic from neighborhoods altogether. It also promotes improved bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure that encourages active transportation and keeps residents safe. The goal of the initiative is to encourage a shift from cars to bikes for short trips and reduce vehicle travel within neighborhoods.

A recent analysis of vehicle registration data examined whether the interventions had a measurable effect on vehicle ownership in London's outer boroughs. The findings show that car ownership fell at much higher rates in the areas designated as "low traffic neighborhoods" or LTNs, with vehicle ownership continuing to decline as the program went on. Other active transportation improvements had a smaller effect on vehicle ownership, but areas that received them still reduced their car ownership at higher-than-average rates. The study's conclusions indicate that LTN interventions contribute significantly to a mode shift away from private cars.

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