IHE responds to new report on shared spaces

September 14, 2015

The IHE has responded to Lord Chris Holmes’ recently published report into shared space called ‘Accidents by Design.’

Chief Executive Richard Hayes said the IHE was concerned with the recent safety and mobility issues being highlighted by users of shared space junctions across the UK.

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

ʺThe Accident by Design report found that people’s experiences of shared space schemes are overwhelmingly negative.

ʺOver a third of people actively avoid shared space schemes and 63 per cent of people who have used shared space schemes rated their experience as poor.

ʺAccording to the report, overzealous councils are risking public safety with fashionable ‘simplified’ street design and there has been significant under-reporting of accidents in shared space.

ʺIt is important that the professional institutions take note of the conclusions of this report and start to review current guidance and practices.

ʺLord Holmes report suggests that many disabled groups are being disadvantaged and are avoiding the benefits of the newly created pedestrian environments.

ʺWe need to ensure that careful consideration is given to the impact new schemes will have on all disabled groups.ʺ

ʺThe report’s key recommendations include an immediate moratorium on shared space schemes while impact assessments are conducted.

ʺIt also calls for 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.

ʺThe report also recommends that the Department for Transport updates their guidance so that Local Authorities better understand their responsibilities under the Equalities Act.

ʺThe highways industry needs to take this report on-board and to work towards creating shared spaces that are accessible to all.ʺ

Download the ‘Accidents by Design’ report (PDF)

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