Engineering

Title: Accidents by Design: the Holmes Report on 'shared space' in the UK

Organisation: Lord Holmes of Richmond
Date uploaded: 22nd July 2015
Date published/launched: July 2015

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Shared space schemes remove regulations and features such as kerbs, road surface markings, traffic signs and controlled crossings. This report says the number of shared space schemes is increasing, with many local authorities planning new schemes, despite the "inherent difficulties".

This survey on which this report is based asked people with experience of shared space for feedback on using these schemes. The report describes the response as "extraordinarily negative".

The report says the survey results also highlighted a worrying trend of under reporting of accidents which also needs urgent attention.

It concludes that a wealth of qualitative data about a huge range of more than 100 shared space schemes paints a picture of public areas people are terrified of using.

Key findings
• People’s experiences of shared space schemes are overwhelmingly negative.
• Overzealous councils are risking public safety with fashionable ‘simplified’ street design.
• Over a third of respondents actively avoid shared space schemes.
• 63% of respondents who have used shared space schemes rated their experience as poor.
• There is a significant under-reporting of accidents in shared space.

Key recommendations
• The report calls for an immediate moratorium on shared space schemes while impact assessments are conducted
• There is an urgent need for accessibility audits of all shared space schemes and a central record of accident data including “courtesy crossings”, which must be defined and monitored
• The Department for Transport must update its guidance so that local authorities better understand their responsibilities under the Equalities Act.

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