Testing proposed delineators to demarcate pedestrian paths in a shared space environment: Report of design trials conducted at University College London Pedestrian Accessibility and Movement Environment Laboratory (PAMELA)

Derrick Boampong, Derrick Boampong, Craig Childs, Taku Fujiyama

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

Several local authorities in the UK have redesigned town centres and high streets using the concept of shared space, or are in the process of doing so. Shared space aims to create shared ‘social’ areas for all users, reduce the dominance of motor vehicles and make streets more people-friendly. Shared space developments are frequently implemented through the creation of a shared surface for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.

Shared surface streets often involve the removal of traditional kerbs and footways and have no, or reduced, demarcation between areas traditionally used by vehicles and pedestrians. The implementation of such schemes is a major concern to blind and partially sighted people who use the kerbs and other tactile demarcations as orientation cues. In addition, the shared surface approach proposes that pedestrians negotiate the street through ‘eye contact’ with other users, putting blind and partially sighted people at an immediate disadvantage.

The first part of Guide Dogs’ research, involving 10 focus groups in UK towns where there are shared surfaces, reported September 2006. It covered the experiences of 67 people in seven focus groups of blind and partially sighted people and three pan-disability focus groups. The research established that the safety, confidence and independence of blind and partially sighted people are undermined by shared surfaces. These concerns have been supported by other disability organisations, and a joint statement on the implications of shared surfaces for disabled people has been agreed.

The next stage of the research project involved developing potential design solutions and testing these with disabled people. Guide Dogs commissioned the international design practice Ramboll Nyvig to produce design proposals that could be applied in a range of street areas, which would take into account the requirements of blind and partially sighted people in shared space designs.

The Ramboll Nyvig report2 advocated the creation of ‘safe space’ within shared space schemes, where vulnerable pedestrians could remain away from vehicles, giving them confidence to use the street independently. Acknowledging that no aspect of the highway can be completely ‘safe’, the ‘safe space’ is the area, equivalent to the traditional footway, where vulnerable pedestrians would feel safer. This would not prevent the rest of the area being shared by motorists, cyclists and those pedestrians able and willing to do so.

The key question is how to demarcate the safe space from the shared area if the traditional kerb is not used. The Ramboll Nyvig report proposed several designs to demarcate the safe space.
LanguageEnglish
Place of PublicationReading
Commissioning bodyThe Guide Dogs for the Blind Association (Guide Dogs)
Number of pages92
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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pedestrian
Testing
town
confidence
disability
Group
motor vehicle
research project
driver
contact

Keywords

  • pedestrian
  • disability
  • guide dogs
  • shared space
  • risk
  • accessibility

Cite this

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title = "Testing proposed delineators to demarcate pedestrian paths in a shared space environment: Report of design trials conducted at University College London Pedestrian Accessibility and Movement Environment Laboratory (PAMELA)",
abstract = "Several local authorities in the UK have redesigned town centres and high streets using the concept of shared space, or are in the process of doing so. Shared space aims to create shared ‘social’ areas for all users, reduce the dominance of motor vehicles and make streets more people-friendly. Shared space developments are frequently implemented through the creation of a shared surface for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.Shared surface streets often involve the removal of traditional kerbs and footways and have no, or reduced, demarcation between areas traditionally used by vehicles and pedestrians. The implementation of such schemes is a major concern to blind and partially sighted people who use the kerbs and other tactile demarcations as orientation cues. In addition, the shared surface approach proposes that pedestrians negotiate the street through ‘eye contact’ with other users, putting blind and partially sighted people at an immediate disadvantage.The first part of Guide Dogs’ research, involving 10 focus groups in UK towns where there are shared surfaces, reported September 2006. It covered the experiences of 67 people in seven focus groups of blind and partially sighted people and three pan-disability focus groups. The research established that the safety, confidence and independence of blind and partially sighted people are undermined by shared surfaces. These concerns have been supported by other disability organisations, and a joint statement on the implications of shared surfaces for disabled people has been agreed. The next stage of the research project involved developing potential design solutions and testing these with disabled people. Guide Dogs commissioned the international design practice Ramboll Nyvig to produce design proposals that could be applied in a range of street areas, which would take into account the requirements of blind and partially sighted people in shared space designs.The Ramboll Nyvig report2 advocated the creation of ‘safe space’ within shared space schemes, where vulnerable pedestrians could remain away from vehicles, giving them confidence to use the street independently. Acknowledging that no aspect of the highway can be completely ‘safe’, the ‘safe space’ is the area, equivalent to the traditional footway, where vulnerable pedestrians would feel safer. This would not prevent the rest of the area being shared by motorists, cyclists and those pedestrians able and willing to do so.The key question is how to demarcate the safe space from the shared area if the traditional kerb is not used. The Ramboll Nyvig report proposed several designs to demarcate the safe space.",
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