‘Shared space’ is an unhelpful phrase that should no longer be used to describe a form of street design, a new report has concluded.
Published yesterday (9 Jan), the Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) report reviews how shared space schemes are being designed, implemented and installed across England.
The report recommends that three more specific terms: ‘pedestrian prioritised streets’, ‘informal streets’ and ‘enhanced streets’ should be used when developing future schemes.
- ‘Pedestrian prioritised streets’ – where those on foot ‘feel that they can move freely anywhere, and where drivers should feel they are a guest’
- ‘Informal streets’ – where formal traffic controls such as signs, markings and signals are either absent or reduced. There is a footway and carriageway, ‘but the differentiation between them is typically less than in a conventional street’
- ‘Enhanced streets’ – where the public realm has improved and where restrictions on pedestrian movement – such as guardrail – have been removed, but where conventional traffic controls largely remain.
The CIHT review also calls on the Government to introduce legislation to allow local authorities to give pedestrians priority on certain streets and review guidance for appropriate kerb heights and tactile paving for the benefit of visually impaired people.
The document makes 15 recommendations, including: improve awareness of the need to create streets that are inclusive and accessible for all; create a framework of outcomes for the basis of street designs and conduct more detailed research into the needs of all users in such spaces.
Andreas Markides, president of CIHT, said: “This review of shared space is the result of a great deal of work by those interested in making our streets better places for everyone.
“The issues around shared space have often been controversial and the recommendations that this review has made, if put into place, will help make our streets into the safe, inclusive environments that we need them to be.
“CIHT has presented these recommendations to Government and we will be coordinating a series of follow up discussions which we will report on in due course. CIHT will play an important role in helping provide increased clarity and consistency for decision makers and highways and transportation professionals.”