Research to look at side road layouts

08.23 | 27 February 2020 | | 2 comments

A new research project has been launched to explore issues linked to the design of side road layouts and the way priority is offered to different users.

The project is being carried out by the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol), after the university received £117,000 of funding from the Road Safety Trust.

The aim of the UWE project is to provide a basis for better side road designs, so that risk for road users is reduced. 

This will be achieved by analysing and categorising different types of provision, investigating the risk reduction of different designs, understanding how road users behave in different circumstances, and why they behave in the way they do. 

The team at UWE Bristol expects this ‘well researched evidence base’ will underpin future design standards and guidance.

Professor John Parkin at UWE Bristol said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this Road Safety Trust grant which will allow us to explore in depth the issues linked to the design of side road layouts and the way priority is offered to different users. 

“There are significant pressures to improve street environments for all users, and understanding user behaviour will allow us to provide recommendations for principles to be adopted for further developments in making streets more comfortable, attractive and safe for all users.”

The Road Safety Trust is a registered charity which since 2014 has awarded grants worth £2.7m to support projects and research.

Sally Lines, chief executive of Road Safety Trust, said: “The standard of applications was really high in 2019 with over 20 applications received under the theme ‘Innovative traffic calming and provision for vulnerable road users’.

 “We are pleased to be able to provide UWE with funding to help achieve our vision of zero deaths and serious injuries on UK roads. 

“We want to make the roads safer for all users in particular vulnerable road users which includes pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.”



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    Charles; you want equal treatment for all. Fine if we have equal vulnerability. There is a cartoon out there with cars fitted with buffers attached to blades pointing at the driver thus dissuading armoured modes from bullying their way through.

    Paul Luton, Teddington
    Agree (0) | Disagree (4)

    I suspect that we already know what the best design for side road layouts is, and how priorities should be handled. The inconvenient truth though, is that it is pure unadulterated “Shared Space” – no signs, no signals, no regulations, no pre-determined priorities, no discrimination between modes, no discrimination against the more vulnerable and no discrimination against the least vulnerable.

    So because that reality wouldn’t be well received by the “we don’t mind how many casualties result just so long as we have plenty of excuses for further punishing motorists” anti-car brigade, it probably won’t even be on the table.

    Casualties only happen because we develop measures that rely on the suspension of the laws of human nature for them to stand a chance of working effectively. This is immediately obvious at traffic-light junctions which rely on road users never crossing them on red. The result is traffic speeding up to reach them before they change, risky crossings on amber, even red, and the assumption of the absolute and incontrovertible fundamental human right to cross on green, even if there is another road user in the way. And we wonder why there are more crashes at such junctions than anywhere else and why there is less congestion when they are out-of-order.

    Let road users negotiate and interact naturally with other road users on a totally equal basis at each crossing of paths, and we instead harness the laws of human nature – laws which have been honed and optimised over the millennia thanks to the tireless, ruthless and uncompromising process of evolution.

    Would we be surprised if a bridge, which relied on the suspension of the laws of gravity for its stability, failed to deliver the expectation of a safe crossing?

    Charles, Wells
    Agree (4) | Disagree (3)

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