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East London Assessment Study (ELAS)

East London Assessment Study (ELAS)

The East London Assessment Study (ELAS) was one of several commissioned in the mid 1980s to solve traffic problems in key areas of London. It covered the Boroughs of Hackney, Islington and Tower Hamlets. The study encountered difficulties in trying to identify ways of accommodating what was forecast at that time to be significant traffic growth. It was also recognised that even if road capacity could be expanded, problems of environmental impact would continue or be increased.

In order to address the environmental as well as trafic objectives of the study, Tim Pharoah was brought in to consider the potential for traffic calming as an alternative to conventional traffic management or road building. The aims were to reduce the impact of traffic on residential and town centre areas in particular.

Traffic calming reduces congestion

The traffic model set up for the full study reflected the frequent traffic queues at key junctions on the network. A re-run of the traffic model was proposed, with an assumption that traffic calming was in place to limit vehicle speeds to 20 mph rather than 30 mph. The output plans showed that the traffic queues were reduced in length, and in some cases disappeared altogether. This was intuitively correct, since in a network with frequent junctions, as in London, higher speeds simply bring drivers to the back of a queue more quickly - that is, they spend a larger proportion of their driving time stationary rather than moving. Thus, if congestion is defined in relation to queueing, traffic calming or speed limitation has a beneficial effect.

The study also included a case study of how traffic calming principles might be applied in mixed activity areas, in this case Upper Street, Islington.

(More to come)

LocationLondon England
Client(s)Department of Transport
Team(s)Tim Pharoah with Llewelyn Davies Planning, Ove Arup & Partners 1989/90


Traffic calming, speed management, network management, East London, congestion reduction, environmental traffic management, East London Assessment Study, ELAS

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Higher speeds bring drivers more quickly to the next traffic queue, thus creating longer queues. Conversely, queues can be reduced if speeds are limited to 20 mph. (Victoria Park Road, 1990)

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