Balanced Use of Road Space


road sepace
Calle en Giovanhill


The Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) is an independent body advising the Government on integrated transport policy. CfIT takes a broad view of integrated transport policy and its interface with wider Government objectives for economic prosperity, environmental protection, health and social inclusion. Physical integration - the principle of ensuring transport modes operate in conjunction with one another, is just one vital element of the bigger transport picture. The Commission provides expert advice supported by independent research.


Study of European Best Practice in the Delivery of Integrated Transport: Transferability







HORIZONTE > viene de la pregunta 97

.leer o escribir comentarios.

CfIT logo

Research Reports

Study of European Best Practice in the Delivery of Integrated Transport
Report on Stage 3: Transferability

3. Balanced Use of Road Space

Elements of Best Practice

3.1 The case studies showed that overseas cities and towns have gone further than their UK equivalents in prioritising road space through a combination of policies designed to reduce the dominance of cars in urban areas and improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

3.2 The key essential elements of these policies are:

•  30 kph speed limits on non-strategic roads throughout urban areas;

•  pedestrianisation of plazas and courtyards, areas around interesting or historic buildings, streets with high concentrations of caf ? bar and restaurants, and the main shopping streets; and

•  segregated cycle lanes on faster major roads (speed limits in excess of 30 kph) and busier minor roads (30 kph limits) which form a comprehensive network of routes to popular destinations.

Main Benefits

3.3 The main benefits of these measures have been:

•  Increased safety - for example, casualties have fallen by 12% in Graz since the introduction of 30 kph speed limits.

•  Improved perceptions of safety - lower speeds have made the roads less intimidating for pedestrians and increased the propensity to cycle.

•  Economic viability - the presence of an attractive central area that is easy to get around by foot has helped to retain the economic viability of the case study areas, despite competition from out of town developments (as in Graz) and surrounding centres (as in Stuttgart).

•  Environmental improvements - slower traffic speeds and greater use of non motorised modes have reduced noise and emissions (particularly in Graz ).

•  Social inclusion - creating more conducive conditions for walking and cycling benefits everyone, but particularly children, older people and those with impaired mobility who are intimidated by traffic. Areas that have been fully segregated have become 'people space' with seating, public art and market stalls.

3.4 Reducing the degree of priority afforded to cars in urban areas tends to have been implemented in combination with bypass or ring road construction, as seen in Barcelona , Munich and Stuttgart , though not in Graz . This has helped to reduce vehicle flows and dissipate the potential congestion effects of slowing speeds and/or reducing road capacity.

3.5 Implemented on a network-wide basis, reprioritisation has changed the behaviour of road users. In Graz , for example, it is not uncommon for motorists to stop and allow pedestrians to cross minor roads away from formal crossing points. In the German case studies, our discussions with city planners suggested that there was a 'critical mass' of cyclists; higher flows encouraged greater respect from drivers and also attracted more people to take up cycling.

20 MPH Zones

UK Policies and Progress

3.6 There are no apparent restrictions on local authorities introducing 20 mph zones in the UK , as the guiding core legislation is already contained in the Road Regulations Act, 1984 and associated regulations covering signage and traffic calming. In fact, changes were made to the implementation process in 1999 so that councils no longer have to get special permission of the Secretary of State and it is now easier for them to pursue 20 mph zones through normal road traffic orders.

Outcomes of UK 20 mph Zones

The Transport Research Laboratory reviewed the outcomes of 250 zones in England , Wales and Scotland and concluded that:

•  average speeds fell by 9 mph

•  accidents fell by 60% (a year)

•  child accidents fell by 67%

•  cyclist accidents fell by 29%

•  traffic flow was reduced by 27%

•  flows on the surrounding boundary roads increased by 12%.

Source: TRL Report 215, Review of Traffic Calming Schemes in 20 mph zones.


3.7 Measures to lower speed limits are not new in the UK ; 20 mph zones were first introduced in Sheffield , Kingston upon Thames and Norwich in 1991 and over 450 schemes have since been implemented. These have included a variety of area types, including parts of the city centres such as in Hull (see panel), local distributor roads where there are accident clusters, residential streets, areas adjacent to schools (under the Safe Routes to School projects), individual junctions (as in Slough) and rural examples such as Epping Forest.

20 mph Zones in Hull

Hull has 85 zones - more than any other local authority in the UK - covering about 20% of the city, compared to 80% in Munich , 85% in Stuttgart and 76% in Graz .

On average, overall accidents have fallen by around 60% and child pedestrian injuries by about 75%. Surveys of 3,700 households in four zones in place for 3 or more years found:

•  78% of people felt that speeds had dropped

•  55% said there was a more pleasant living environment

•  59% said more children played in the street

•  80% said 20 mph limits were a good idea

Source: TRL Report 215, Review of Traffic Calming Schemes in 20 mph zones.


3.8 The main reason for introducing 20 mph zones in the UK has been to reduce accidents. The demonstrable safety benefits have led to schemes being supported by the public, though there is a risk of opposition from traders if associated traffic calming measures interfere with their access arrangements.

Transferability of Best Practice

3.9 There are currently no 20 mph zones in Britain on the scale of those introduced in the case study areas and whilst there are no apparent legislative barriers, transferability is likely to depend heavily on:

•  Strong commitment from the local authority (and neighbouring authorities in world and large cities where the urban area crosses administrative boundaries) to introduce potentially controversial blanket 20 mph speed limits on all non-strategic roads.

•  Sufficient funding to cover:

•  consultation, awareness raising of the potential benefits and driver education before an area-wide scheme is implemented;

•  the costs of implementation; and

•  monitoring and communication of outcomes to maintain support for the scheme.

•  Enforcement - under the revised regulations, if the average speed is less than 24 mph, zones can be implemented with signage alone, otherwise traffic calming is also needed. Studies have shown that without physical measures, simply lowering the speed limit has not been effective and, typically, vehicles only slow down by about 1 mph and average speeds do not drop to 20 mph. However, blanket 20 mph speed limits would reduce the current confusion amongst drivers regarding permitted speeds and may well tend towards greater compliance.

•  Other research suggests that the benefits of traffic calming in facilitating lower speeds and safer roads may be partly offset by worsening air pollution . For instance, the presence of 75mm road humps causes cars to emit an additional 82% of carbon monoxide and 37% of nitrogen oxide. This suggests that 'less polluting' measures such as chicanes should be used, especially in Air Quality Management Areas, and this is likely to accord with cyclists, bus users, the emergency services and others that have difficulty negotiating vertical deflections.

•  Attitudes of the Police - in the past, the Police have been unwilling to enforce 20 mph zones, so zones have had to be self-enforcing and this reinforced the need for traffic calming. Such measures cannot be implemented throughout the urban area and police enforcement will be needed, but recent signals are that the Police are attaching lower priority to traffic offences.

•  Overseas authorities use mobile speed cameras and speed guns for enforcement purposes and this is cost effective because of the larger area covered by the lower speed limits. Given the constraints on Police budgets and effectiveness of decriminalised parking enforcement, it may be necessary to transfer responsibility for local speed enforcement to local authorities.

•  Public acceptance - there is a lot of public support for 20 mph zones though existing schemes have been confined to specific sites, such as accident black spots and schools. Larger schemes are likely to require education and publicity programmes that cover the potential safety improvements as well as wider environmental and streetscape benefits to win approval. In Graz , intensive public awareness work and police enforcement accompanied the introduction of lower speed limits and public approval levels increased from less than half to over three quarters after four years.

3.10 There will also be a need for 'political' decisions on scheme appraisal. Under the Government's New Approach to Appraisal (NATA) methodology, numerical values can be assigned to journey time savings, however, lower traffic speeds will contribute to a negative outcome that will have to be over-ruled by the positive social and environmental outcomes in the qualitative section of the assessment.

Greater Priority for Pedestrians

3.11 In addition to the benefits of slower speeds brought about by the 30 kph limits, all the urban case studies demonstrated high levels of priority for pedestrians and cyclists. For example, Barcelona has 105km of pedestrianised or pedestrian priority roads, and Munich has more than 5 km of car-free shopping streets in the centre and 650km of cycle paths throughout the metropolitan area, compared to about 68km in Glasgow (Strathclyde).

3.12 The smaller cities similarly had pedestrianised shopping cores, shared use streets (pedestrian and cyclist in Stuttgart , and pedestrian, cyclist and trams in Graz ) and lengths of fully segregated cycle lanes.

3.13 There were also many small-scale pedestrianised areas, including linked plazas and courtyards ( Barcelona and Graz ), extended pavements on street corners and pedestrian space around features such as fountains and churches. These areas are then used for caf ? market stalls or just recreational use and yet they were crucial to provide a level of vitality and ambience that shifts the fundamental role of the street from one of movement to a place for personal interaction.

Pedestrianisation in the UK

3.14 Some of our cities have successfully implemented pedestrianisation schemes to restrict car access, provide better facilities for shoppers and other visitors and improve the local streetscape. However, these tend to be historic cities (such as Oxford, Cambridge and York) where the narrow streets do not permit sufficient width for roads and pavements, there is strong argument for conservation, and the centre provides a regional function and has an extensive catchment area and so there is less competition from neighbouring centres.

Economic Boost to Horsham

Horsham has won recognition from both the Civic Trust and RTPI for a town centre improvement scheme that included:

•  An outer bypass and relief road

•  Part-pedestrianisation of the centre and 20 mph speed limits

•  Gardens, landscaping and artworks on pedestrian routes

•  Tree planting and street furniture.

The popularity of the scheme has led to the extension of the car free area. New independent shops, restaurants and cafes have opened and the local economy has grown.

Sources: Association of Town Centre Management, A guide to good practice, 1998.
DETR, Living Places: Urban Renaissance in the South East (Technical Report), 2000.


3.15 Elsewhere, pedestrianisation schemes tend to be constrained by the threat of economic decline through reduced accessibility (this has largely been retained by park and ride schemes in the historic towns) and, in particular, opposition from retailers who perceive that their business will suffer from a loss of passing car-borne trade or competition from market stalls which have fewer overheads and can afford lower mark-ups on goods. Though it may be that following pedestrianisation, more street traders and the improved local environment would attract more visitors and counter these arguments.

3.16 Strong local political leadership is needed to front such schemes, along with complementary measures to reduce central area traffic flows and retain accessibility and extensive marketing of the improvements. In London , this has been complicated because the benefits of schemes would occur in one borough and yet the disbenefits, in terms of diverted traffic, would impact in the surrounding boroughs.

Transformation of Leeds

Leeds has been transformed into a prestigious business, leisure and cultural centre through changes spearheaded by a public-private partnership, primarily funded by Leeds City Council. Improvements have included:

•  a transport strategy to remove traffic from central areas and ease congestion on surrounding roads;

•  2 miles of pedestrianised areas with street entertainment, street caf ? and a safer, cleaner shopping environment; and

•  a strategy to increase the number of eating places which has led to a doubling of pubs and caf ? ars from 50 to over 100 between 1990 and 1999.

The popularity of the scheme has led to the extension of the car free area. New independent shops, restaurants and cafes have opened and the local economy has grown.

Source: Association of Town Centre Management, Step Change: the case for a town improvement zone programme, 2000. DoE, Town Centre Partnerships, 1997.


3.17 In larger cities this is likely to require extensive traffic management, road closures and revised signage. It may be possible to absorb the diverted traffic flows on other parts of the network or by switching onto public transport. However, in medium and small cities there may well be a need for a bypass or ring road to allow strategic traffic to bypass the centre.

3.18 The modal share comparisons in Stage 1 demonstrated that our medium and small cities are heavily dependent on the car. Investment in increasing the coverage, quality and operational hours of public transport would therefore be essential to provide a viable alternative for motorists at all times of the day and evening.

3.19 Even where streets have been fully or partially pedestrianised, or there is excess pavement capacity, we still do not achieve a European-style street environment. This is not entirely due to the changeable climate, but because we do not make enough use of the reallocated space.

Constraints on Use of Street Space

3.20 The main factors constraining UK progress towards a more European-style street environment are:

•  Competition - not all centres are able to compete with established leisure and entertainment developments (in larger urban centres), regional shopping centres and out of town leisure and retail developments.

•  Decentralisation - many of the key functions of UK cities have moved out to business, leisure and retail parks thereby reducing the potential market for street caf ? stalls, etc and stimulating visits throughout the day and after work.

•  Depopulation - out-migration has reduced the resident population and so our large, medium and smaller cities tend to empty in the evening. In contrast, the case study areas had high central area population densities, with Munich (5,600 inhabitants per square km) and Stuttgart (5,900) demonstrating considerably higher densities than equivalent sized UK cities, and planning policies that supported further intensification.

•  Lack of infrastructure - the quality of public spaces is dependent on:

•  The provision of seating, landscaped areas and public art to add interest and encourage people to spend time in public spaces;

•  Shaded/sheltered areas in the public realm to protect against the weather at different times of the year;

•  A policy environment which allows operators to create outside seating areas with the necessary heaters, awnings, umbrellas etc.

•  Lighting and security provisions including CCTV systems to encourage a safe pleasant night time ambience.

•  Potential legal and institutional constraints - local planning policies may discourage non-retail and, in particular, food and drink (A3) uses in certain parts of the centre such as primary shopping frontages. Planning permission is required for a change of use from a general shop use (A1) to A3 and certain conditions may be attached, such as restrictions of the types of activity and capacity permitted, use of outside spaces, amplified music, and hours of operation, generally "to limit the impact of the proposal on residential or visual amenity".

•  Licensing - the animation of public spaces through markets, events, festivals, street performers, street trading, information kiosks etc is dependant on obtaining public entertainment or other licenses from the local authority. These are only issued following consultation with the fire service, police and local magistrates concerning public safety and public order implications.

•  The provision of commercial activities on the public highway by a local authority is complex; for example, there are management and administrative charges payable to the local authority, and there are a wide range of regulations governing public health and street trading (specifying provision for water and waste, toilet facilities, etc). Granting of licences to serve alcohol are determined by local magistrates in consultation with the police and their attitudes vary significantly between locations.

•  Ownership and tenancy - public spaces are often in mixed ownership and so responsibilities for the development and maintenance of the public realm are divided between several stakeholders. Each is likely to have different aspirations for their landholding and different levels of commitment to achieving these. Many commercial buildings are occupied on a multiple leasehold basis and these can include certain conditions or covenants which restrict the tenant from using outside spaces for commercial activities.

Better Provision for Cyclists

3.21 All UK cities are progressing schemes to improve conditions for cyclists, under the national cycle strategy. However, the key differences between the UK approach and overseas are:

(i) The scale of implementation; and

(ii) The level of commitment.

3.22 Our cycle lanes amount to little more than lines painted onto the road surface where capacity allows - and in some places where there is insufficient road space - so cyclist have to share their lane with motorists. There is little physical segregation and so the lanes offer no protection from passing traffic and they can be blocked by (illegally) parked vehicles.

3.23 Lanes tend to be discontinuous and networks include a number of residential streets that offer cyclists a quieter, but longer, route to their destination. Cycle parking is often limited and poorly located and so there is a high actual and perceived risk of theft.

3.24 In contrast, the case study areas demonstrated much more conducive conditions for cycling with:

•  30 kph speed limits on minor roads and segregated lanes on many busy or faster roads;

•  Continuous, extensive networks covering a large part of the urban environment, serving key destinations such as shops, offices, transport interchanges, leisure, recreational and educational facilities. For example, Stuttgart has 117 km of cycle only roads, 70 km of joint use pedestrian paths and, in addition, 65% of streets in the metropolitan area have 30 kph speed limits and so they are good for cycling along); and

•  Provision of numerous cycle stands with many more bikes left informally chained to posts and railings. ( Munich has over 40,000 cycle stands at stations across the metropolitan area, Strathclyde and Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executives (PTEs) were unable to supply exact figures but both estimated they had about a hundred).

Transferability of Overseas Approach to Cycling

3.25 The key issue to be addressed is the provision of safe routes that offer protection from general traffic. Lower speeds would go some way towards this by reducing the risk and severity of accidents and making roads less intimidating, but continuous segregated lanes are also needed to provide direct routes to popular destinations, especially on busy or faster roads.

3.26 Reallocating road space away from motorists is controversial and has only been achieved on a small scale in cities like Cambridge and Norwich that already have relatively high modal shares for cycling. Investment in cycle lanes, crossings and associated facilities will require a leap of faith in other areas. However, this is needed if we are to significantly increase cycle levels.

3.27 Such investment is likely to be difficult to justify in medium and small sized cities where the cycle mode share is not necessarily lower than in larger cities, but the actual volume of cyclists is lighter because of the smaller populations. However, the experience of Stuttgart and Graz is that the infrastructure must be implemented first before usage can be encouraged. Such 'pump-priming' is also important in these cities because the city centres may not have the drawing power of larger cities and so there is less potential for demand management measures to encourage switching from the car.

3.28 Other issues that need to be addressed in the UK are:

•  Professional attitudes towards cycle planning - currently the focus tends to be on road or corridor-specific schemes whereas overseas networks cover radial and circular routes. For example, Munich is currently investing in a segregated ring route to link the main radial routes.

•  Lack of local cycle 'champion' - overseas, the city council spearheads the implementation of cycle lanes and parking facilities. For example, in Stuttgart the city council has employed a cycle planner and established a cycle working group, including representatives from the railway authority, neighbouring districts, etc to overcome complexities associated with land ownership and allocation of budgets where cycle lanes cross municipal boundaries.

•  Funding - there is potential for gaining funds through the LTP process, contributions from developers, etc but overseas experience shows that considerable investment is needed up-front to develop and market the cycle network. Additional funds are then required on an on-going basis to extend coverage and increase parking stands as demand increases and produce up to date maps and plans. In Stuttgart , the city council has a ring-fenced budget for cycling in its annual financial plan.

•  Public attitudes towards cycling - UK perceptions of cycling are poor, largely because of the perceived (and actual) risk of road accidents, but also because of the small number of cyclists in the UK .

3.29 A further issue is crime; whilst secure cycling parking facilities were visible in all the case study areas, there was also very low street crime (Munich and Stuttgart) and a level of civility (Graz) that enables cyclists to park cycles on the street without fear of them being stolen. This in itself adds to the convenience and reliability of cycle use.



ver o escribir comentarios.