Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Introduction: Toward sharing

World Streets is convinced that the future of the sustainable transport will in large part be mediated by new attitudes toward and practices of both ownership and use of both private and public means. Starting in the cities showing the way, we are going to see a lot more sharing in a lot more ways, among them: carsharing, ridesharing, bike sharing, taxi sharing, space sharing, street sharing, intersection sharing, time sharing, and the list can go on. To this end we shall be giving plenty of space in the coming months to information on specific projects, means, and groups dedicated to be part of this solution path. We all have a lot to learn on this score.

The following Policy Briefing Note on "Naked Streets" by the British group Living Streets has been brought to our attention by Amy Aeron-Thomas, Executive Director of RoadPeace.

Naked Streets: Background and Summary

The naked streets concept, also known as “shared space”, is a very promising approach to both pedestrian safety and improving the vitality of an area. Naked street schemes place importance on how drivers make decisions about their behaviour, recognising the importance of how they perceive their surroundings. It’s a significant departure from attempts to control behaviour through interventions like road humps, or engineering pedestrians out of our streetscape through subways or guardrail.

Although the UK has a good road safety record for people in cars, when it comes to pedestrians the picture is less positive. Compared to other European countries our record is poor and, despite progress in recent years, children on foot are particularly vulnerable. The unacceptable number of pedestrians being killed or seriously injured on our streets needs to be taken as a wake up call. Rather than being satisfied by the status quo, we must look for improvements to the way we design and manage our streets. We need to examine ways to encourage and enable more people to make walking their natural choice for short journeys, and to tackle the unacceptable number of pedestrians killed or seriously injured on our streets.

We believe that schemes which use naked streets principles have great potential to make our streets safer and more people-friendly, by changing the behaviour of all road users for the better. However these schemes must be well designed and implemented, and involve thorough consultation with local interest groups as well as ongoing monitoring and evaluation of impact to ensure that the scheme brings positive results. Improving safety and ensuring accessibility must be at the heart of schemes.

This policy paper sets out Living Streets’ position on naked streets, acting in our role as the national charity that stands up for pedestrians. We explain the concepts in the glossary in part 2, set out our best practice ideas for implementing naked streets schemes in part 3, and finally set out our recommendations in part 4. As with all issues concerning our streets, we expect to develop policy further in this area as experience is gained and new projects are tested.

Living Streets has been working for the past 80 years to make our streets safer for those on foot, and to make the physical environment support and encourage walking. This paper is based on those same values, embracing new ideas to create safe, attractive and enjoyable streets across the UK.

Click here for full report (PDF) -

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