Shared Surface

Group News

The Department for Transport (DfT) withdrew its LTN 1/11 shared space document on the 26th July 2018. This was done in response to the publication of the DfT’s The Inclusive Transport Strategy: Achieving Equal Access for Disabled People document published on the 25th July 2018.

In particular, it is a response to the recommendations at Page 12 of the document that advised:

– “We will recommend that the local authorities pause the development of shared space schemes while we review and update the Departments guidance.

– We will update the Departments Inclusive Mobility and Tactile Paving Guidance.”

The DfT has advised that it will publish conclusions with the view to expanding or updating the Inclusive Mobility and Tactile Paving Guidance and explore whether the two sets of documents should be combined and also to set street design within the overall context of the statutory requirements on local authorities set out in the Equality Act 2010.

The withdrawal of LTN 1/11: Shared Space is ultimately the consequence of long standing concerns raised by vulnerable road users, in particular those with visual impairments. It is also the consequence of the recommendations of a Parliamentary Select Committee published on the 25th April 2017 that recommended a halt to shared space schemes that remove kerbs and signal-controlled crossings as well as a review by the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) Review of Shared Space published in April 2018.

Shared Space is an umbrella term, predominantly used in the UK and not Europe, to describe a ‘level surface’ – the situation where kerbs are removed and there is a single surface used by pedestrians and vehicles. However, this can be misleading as a level surface scheme is not a requirement for a shared space scheme. Kerbs and delivery strips can still be retained, and the decision to do so is currently for the local authority to make.

The overall aim of these schemes is one of empathy moving away from your traditional traffic dominated schemes with 5.5 metre-wide carriageways and 2-metre-wide footways, to traffic schemes that are designed to be more of a place accommodating all people and all modes of transport. This has led to the highway and transport profession becoming more empathetic in the design of public realm and development schemes incorporating these principles and moving away from the more historic car led design approach.

The consequences of the withdrawal of the LTN 1/11 has led to a number of highway authorities to recently state that they will not be agreeing any shared space schemes at planning and technical approval stage until further notice.

Pegasus Group acknowledges that design for the inclusive use of a scheme for all users brings with it design challenges in ensuring that the space can be used by all. However, there are numerous examples of successful shared space scheme that achieve this through the UK and elsewhere.

This is also not new concept to highway engineers and one must hope that once the DfT publishes its updated guidance document on Shared Surface scheme designs that it reflects best practice providing clear examples of what works well and where, particularly those with visual impairments. It is also hoped that the updated guidance still allows engineers the flexibility to exercise professional judgement where appropriate to reflect the unique location and characteristics of every different scheme.

Anthony JonesPegasus Group’s transport team, led by Director, Anthony Jones, is currently liaising directly with a number of highway authorities to confirm the implications the announcement has on any shared surface schemes that has planning permission, being considered at planning or going through the technical approval process.

We will provide an update on the highway authorities position and if there will be an impasse on reviewing any shared surface schemes until the DfT updates its guidance, scheduled at the moment for the autumn of 2018.

To this end, it is hoped that the updated guidance is released as early as possible to avoid delays to the implementation of schemes and allow the industry to move forward with a coherent approach.

For more information about Pegasus Group and its services, please contact us.