Saturday, 12 September 2009

Are ‘shared streets’ safe?


On Kensington High Street the crossings now work on a shared space scheme. The whole high street is a zone that pedestrians can make use of. Since we introduced the scheme in 2003 there’s been an overall reduction in accidents from 71 casualties to 40 casualties. Pedestrian-related accidents have fallen by almost 60 per cent. It is quite significant and it is because everybody — motorists and pedestrians — is looking around and taking more care.


The problem with empirical data that shows a reduction in accidents is that it doesn’t tell the whole story — whether people are too afraid to cross the road. On some busy roads you can get low pedestrian accident rates because people do not venture across. Looking at footfall from the flow of people will show their true confidence.