Pedestrians and drivers rarely use eye contact to negotiate priority in shared space environments, according to new guidance published by the DfT (TransportXtra).
The guidance is the culmination of a two-year research project led by MVA Consultancy into shared spaces (areas in which pedestrians and vehicles interact, typically without the aid of features such as kerbs and formal crossing points).
The report says: “It has often been suggested that, when crossing a shared space, it is essential for pedestrians to make eye contact with drivers. However, during research into user interaction in shared space, no instances of negotiation by eye contact were observed.”
Shared space schemes have become increasingly popular with councils wanting to regenerate local high streets. It is up to councils to decide whether or not to use shared space on their roads, but the DfT’s guidance is designed to help those who do want to use it to implement well-designed schemes.
Norman Baker, under secretary of state for transport, said: “We want councils to design high-quality public spaces which enhance the local environment and improve the lives of local people. In some cases, they will decide that shared space is the best solution.
“This new guidance will help councils who want to use shared space to improve their streetscape while making sure they take into account the needs of the whole community.”
Click here to read the full TransportXtra news report.
Click here to find Shared Space Local Transport Note 1/11 on the DfT website.