Careful tailoring

* Road signs removed * Coming to your town, soon? * Accidents reduced in studies...

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What Car? Staff
25 January 2010

Careful tailoring

However, there are particular concerns over 'naked streets' from organisations representing the disabled, blind and partially-sighted, so it's important that each scheme must be tailored to its local context.

'It should be the right solution for the individual space', stresses Jim Mayor, 'and should consider all users and uses of the space, not just drivers or passengers of vehicles. The trick to making it work is using good design to ensure that all users are properly and fairly accommodated.'

The TRL decided in 2007 that although 'the case for widespread implementation in more urban areas has not yet been convincingly made', there was scope for a simplified streetscape in public space, 'as long as it is not taken to extremes and is considered on
a case-by-case basis'.

Yet even if wholesale adoption of Monderman's ideas isn't always appropriate, there are many individual aspects that are well worth consideration; several councils have recently de-cluttered roads and junctions of excess signage for a start. Combining shared-space schemes with less-controversial techniques are also a possibility.

TRL concluded of its Latton experiment that psychological traffic calming works best when combined with physical measures such as road narrowing as well as lower speed limits, a traditional method of traffic control.

What Car? says
With the right combination of thorough research, good planning and clever engineering, our streets can be made safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. However, it takes all of these factors not just one or two to make shared-space areas work, so we want to see the conclusions of the TRL's schemes heeded by local authorities. Case-by-case adoption for clearer, safer streets is the only way forward.