A government survey has found that 65% of people in England support reallocating road space to cycling and walking in their local area, while as many as 78% support measures to reduce road traffic. Separate research also found majority support for the capital’s low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) with only 19% of Londoners opposing them.
A survey of 2,211 adults has looked at public attitudes towards traffic and road use in England. This included attitudes towards local action; views on reduction of traffic and reallocation of road space; and perceptions of traffic and road problems within local neighbourhoods.
The survey respondents overwhelmingly agreed that the government should act in local neighbourhoods to increase road safety (88%), improve air quality (86%), reduce traffic congestion (83%) and reduce traffic noise (75%).
Asked whether they supported reallocation of road space for walking and cycling, 66% said they did “across towns and cities in England” with a similar number (65%) expressing support for reallocation in their local area.
Meanwhile, in London, independent polling by Redfield & Wilton found that while 19% of people oppose LTNs, 52% support them with 25% neutral.
LTNs block rat-running drivers while retaining access to residents. While they are often presented as ‘controversial,’ the findings support the view that the majority of resistance tends to come from a vocal minority.
The research was intended as the first phase of a wider study on public attitudes to LTNs and the outcomes they are designed to achieve.
The Government said that further surveys were being conducted of residents in individual LTNs where roads have been closed. The first of these, in south London, has found that 56% want to keep the scheme, while 38% want to remove it.
The government yesterday released another £175m from the £250m Active Travel Fund, allocating it to local authorities in England to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
Commenting on this, and the results of the surveys, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We want to do everything we can to make it easy for people to include some activity in their daily routines – whether that’s cycling to work or walking safely to school.
“We can see the public’s strong appetite for greener and more active travel, and this funding will help ensure the right infrastructure is in place to build truly active neighbourhoods.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps recently criticised the quality of some of the pop-up bike lanes created using the first tranche of funding.
New guidance emphasises the need for public consultation before constructing such schemes. The move has been welcomed by Chris Boardman on the basis that, “we know that this is something people want.”