Low Traffic Neighbourhoods

Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, or LTNs, are already popular in some EU countries but are growing in popularity in the UK, particularly with recent measures to boost walking and cycling (covid-related). For the uninitiated, they tend to be residential neighbourhoods where through-motoring has been made impossible. This is done with temporary or permanent filters, such as large wooden planters or bollards. Motor vehicle access to all properties is still allowed, but motorists can no longer use a filtered street as a shortcut - they are forced onto larger, main roads. Walking and cycling is still allowed, but the streets are now much, much quieter and safer.

Would it be possible to use some kind of area tag that highlights an area, in the cycling overlay, as an LTN? I think it could be quite valuable for route-finding applications - you may be much more likely to want to walk/cycle through an LTN to get to your destination than you are a main road with a cycle lane.

Hi and welcome to OSM and the forum

Since obstacles (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:barrier) should be entered anyway in OSM there is no need to mark an area as LTN. Routers should be able to route motor-vehicles around those areas, where as cyclists and pedestrians can be routed through. In case there are no obstacles there are access-restrictions (https://wiki.openstreetmap.org/wiki/Key:access) in OSM to prevent routers to route public traffic (vs. residents) through those roads.

I understand and I usually add filters in myself, but it’s another visual indication that might be useful in the same way that using colour to highlight a cycle route or cycle lane is useful.

For example, the Valley of Stone cycleway is visible here in purple - https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=13/53.6593/-2.1879&layers=C - it’s a visual clue to the viewer that a comfortable cycle route exists. I’m asking that we have a similar option to highlight neighbourhoods where cycling is more attractive due to the lack of cars.

Separately from barriers etc., if “Low Traffic Neighbourhoods” are independently verifiable (e.g. via signs at the perimeter) then it would make sense to map them. If not, probably not - but if this data is available surely you could create a map that overlays this data over whatever sort of map you like?

They tend to have signs are the perimeter but I don’t believe there’s a national standard for signing them.

A quick google for “low traffic neighbourhood” shows that they’re very much a “thing” and are being actively designed by many councils. As they’re designed to make walking and cycling more comfortable and hence more popular, I believe they should appear on the cycling overlay in a similar manner to cycle routes.

Some legal restriction including access=destination are depicted by OSM Carto. An issue with choosing tags based on a “simple” look-up of tags (excuse my terminology) would be over-applying a legal restriction to different modes in structuring the tags, as in motor_vehicle=destination directly, vs access=destination (very easy to forget what comes after) + foot=yes + bicycle=yes (this also opens a problem on non-motorized vehicles other than bicycles). For concerns/suggestions on bicycle-themed maps, you should contact OpenCycleMap and others directly.

He’s likely asking about a direct and explicit signage of a “Low Traffic Neighbourhood” designation (in the manner of a low speed or no horn zone), instead of the component legal restriction signs. An LTN is more of a branding of traffic management policy, that probably shouldn’t tagged per se at this moment.

Considering LTNs from a different perspective, I’m interested in getting a tool together that makes it easier to design and evaluate LTNs. The tool would download a relevant portion of the OSM database and provide facilties to create and render a local version with added barriers and restrictions.
Most importantly it would also perform an analysis of a selected set of streets and report all the routes for motor traffic to ‘rat run’ through the area. A rat run is in principle any route that leaves the area by a different street than it entered. Of course many such routes are unattractive because they are longer than other more direct routes on surrounding roads - except when the surrounding are blocked - which may be due to road closures or to excessive traffic.
Even highway planners often have difficulty in determining at effectiveness of a proposed LTN. My suggested tool could make it much easier.

Is anyone aware of any tool or platform that already achieves some or all of the above?