Public transport: Trips not made

It’s easy to measure the trips made on public transport and produce statistics as a guide to transport planning. But what do you do about trips not made – how do you measure them? The only way is to ask people for their public transport stories about trips made or foregone. Qualitative research is as valid as any other method, but it doesn’t give simple answers in the form of statistics.

Iutruwita/Tasmania has no passenger rail services apart from scenic train trips for tourists. The bus is the main public transport service. Otherwise it is taxis or rides from friends and family.

Two yellow buses.

A qualitative study of 30 young people with disability in Tasmania reveals the importance of public transport in everyday life. Without access to it, people with disability are unable to work, get an education, and choose where to shop. Getting to medical appointments are difficult or missed unless someone drives them.

The researchers used community chats, World Café methods, and individual chats to gain information from participants. The research team recruited young people with disability as researchers as well as participants.

The verbatim accounts provide good insights into the importance of public transport in everyday living. This was especially the case for people who do not drive or own a car. And of course, if it is difficult for people with disability, it is likely difficult for many other people. For example parents with young children and older people.

Key points from the study

People with disability find using public transport difficult. Across the system there were tension points in physical, cognitive, digital accessibility, reliability and affordability. Briefly, the themes emerging from the study were:

– Difficulty planning the trip – confusing and poor access to information.

– Difficulty getting to the bus – unsafe surface, poor lighting, long distances.

– Nervous/uncomfortable wait for the bus – lack of real time information, no shelters or seats.

– Being vigilant on the bus – crowding, bullying, driver-passenger interactions, not knowing whereto get off.

– Stuck getting home – unpredictability of services and lack of real time information.

The sum total of the stories resulted in a refrain of “I can’t do anything”. There was a sense of restriction and missing out. “Unless you have someone to take you, you can’t go.”

The article is titled, “I have mentally cancelled a lot of trips”: Trips not made by disabled people due to public transport inequity in lutruwita/Tasmania.

There is a summary report on the Anglicare Tasmania website.

From the abstract

People with disability of all ages continue to experience transport disadvantage. Barriers to transport have been well documented. However, less is known about the consequences of journeys not made because of these barriers.

In this article, we share the trips not made and their impact on the everyday lives of 30 disabled people. The participants were disabled young people, from lutruwita/Tasmania, Australia.

Health, work, education, seeing friends/family and leisure trips are forgone due to public transport not being inclusive of disabled persons. Their stories suggest public transport use is still dependent on who you are, where you live and the complexity of the journey.

For transport equity, substantial change is needed in how the transport user is considered in transport planning and network delivery.

And even if you have access to a car…

Isolation due to private transport is also an issue if you don’t have a driver’s licence. A study by Monash University found that mental health, self-doubt and physical disability are reasons people opt not to drive. When you live in a regional area not being able to drive leads to greater isolation and barriers to work. A magazine article has more.

Put pedestrians first

Transport planners and engineers will be familiar with both the Safe System approach and the Movement and Place framework. The implicit assumption is that these approaches will put pedestrians first. But will they? The quest for reducing car use is focused on people walking and cycling more. Bike riders have successfully advocated for better cycling conditions in major cities. But has the infrastructure been beneficial for walkability and wheelability?

A universal design approach takes and inclusive whole of population view. It acknowledges that pedestrians are diverse and have varying abilities in negotiating street infrastructure.

A busy intersection in Sydney showing pedestrians, a cyclist and a bus. Put pedestrians first.

Transport planners and engineers are guided by regulations related to the concept of mobility. However, this means things like transport demands, traffic impact and land use. A pedestrian’s view of mobility is more about moving around easily, safely and without impediments.

When the issue of equity arises, it is often framed from a transport disadvantage view. That means identifying specific pedestrian groups who need special treatment or accommodations. A commonly used collective term for all these groups is “vulnerable pedestrians”. But all pedestrians are vulnerable in the presence of motor vehicles. This terminology implicitly perpetuates negative stereotypes which lead to planning assumptions that are not necessarily accurate.

Older pedestrians are not all “slow walkers” and not all slow walkers are older. Given that most older people live in the community, it is a nonsense to just do special pedestrian treatment around aged care facilities. Same thing for children – they do more than just go to school.

See more on this discussion in Jane Bringolf’s article in Sourceable titled, Planning for walkability: Put pedestrians first. If we are serious about encouraging people to get out of their cars, it’s time to put pedestrians at the top of the road user hierarchy.

Making streets safer for pedestrians

This Fast Company article poses the idea that these painted designs are safer for pedestrian. However, not everyone will be safer if there is too much visual “noise”.

Aerial view of an intersection where bright artworks are painted on the corners of the intersection.

There’s a simple way to make streets safer for pedestrians.

According to a Fast Company article, most serious accidents happen at intersections. One way to prevent them is not a new traffic signal but a bucket of paint. Street art, literally on the roadway at intersections, seems to provide one solution.

The bright colours are difficult for drivers to miss and tend to cause them to slow down. Or at least, to be more cautious and more attentive to pedestrians. If it works as a traffic calming solution then it’s a good idea. However, is it a good idea for all pedestrians?

People with cognitive conditions and reduced visual perception could find the painted surfaces distracting. While the street art is welcome on the endless asphalt, it would be good to get user testing from different groups.

Aerial view of a street intersection showing the street art painted on the road surface. There is a mix of different brightly coloured patterns.

Don’t need new signals, just a bucket of paint.

The Fast Company article has many pictures of attractive brightly coloured artworks at intersections which tell the story. The pilot project was funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies and now it’s being rolled out in different states.

More than three quarters of the projects studied saw reduced traffic crashes after the artworks were installed. Now Bloomberg Philanthropies plans to continue the work in Europe.

The title of the article is, “The ridiculously simple way to make streets safer for pedestrians”.

Photos from the Fast Company blog site.

Walking and wheeling not equitable

A survey of people with disability in England found that getting out and about in their neighbourhood difficult if not impossible. Two not-for-profit organisations ran a six month inquiry which revealed waking and wheeling is not equitable for all. Similar experiences have been identified in Australia. Footpaths and time to cross the road feature strongly.

“We believe everyone should have the right to walk or wheel around our neighbourhoods with ease, independence and confidence.”

Front cover of the report on walking and wheeling. It shows people with various mobility devices walking along a neighbourhood street.

Transport accessibility gap

Physical barriers to wheeling and walking are only part of the issue. Participants said they are afraid of negative comments from other people when walking or wheeling. Not having the right mobility aid was also an barrier to traveling safely and independently.

Disabled people take 38% fewer trips across all modes of transport than non-disabled people.  This pattern is similar for walking and wheeling. In England, for example, disabled people take 30% fewer walking trips than non-disabled people. ”

Image from the report showing a man in a wheelchair and a woman walking across a zebra crossing.

What to do about it?

The Executive Summary of the report lists 9 solutions with recommendations. First on the list is to involve people with disability in walking and wheeling policy and practice. Dedicated and well maintained footpaths are another key feature for improvements.

“It’s very frustrating seeing beautiful smooth roads for cars whilst walking on pavement surfaces that are falling apart.” Workshop participant

Image from the report showing a broken footpath. The text reads, Create dedicated pavement funding to maintain and improve pavements.

Footpath clutter, bollards, outdoor dining, and electric vehicle chargers need to be managed better. Some people don’t leave their homes on garbage collection days. Then comes the issue of interacting with cycle paths and cyclists. More formal crossings, kerb ramps and tactile paving would encourage them to walk or wheel more.

We need more time to cross the road

Transport engineers use a standard walking speed to time traffic signals at I.2m per second. UK transport guidance updated this to 1.0m per second but this is still to quick for slow walkers and people wheeling. This makes people feel unsafe and limits their ability to get out and about. Research cited by Australian researchers found that people using a cane or crutch walked 0.8m per second and people using a walker 0.63m per second.

The blog article with an overview is titled, Disabled Citizens’ Inquiry: Giving disabled people a voice in walking and wheeling policy and practice. You can also download the Executive Summary and the Full Report of the Inquiry. The report comes in alternative formats too.

Although this is report is based on English conditions, the findings support other research in Australia and elsewhere. The section on Transportation on this website has more.

Maintaining dignity on buses and trains

“Mind the Gap” on public transport has an additional meaning for people with disability and other marginalised groups. It’s not just the barriers and inconveniences, it’s also the indignity that people experience. Gaps result from barriers in infrastructure, communication systems and attitudes. Consequently, not everyone is able to maintain their dignity on buses and trains.

More than 30% of people with disability in Australia experience difficulties using public transport. Consequently, this impacts on their ability to participate in the economy and society.

A boy in a powered wheelchair is mounting the ramp into the Queensland Rail train. A woman stands behind him and the station guard looks on. A man with a baby stroller and boy wait nearby to enter the train carriage. The image is from the Access and Inclusion webpage.

Image from Queensland Transport’s Access and Inclusion Strategy.

Perceptions of dignity are about not feeling discrimination, shame or humiliation. Positive experiences of acceptance and inclusion help maintain dignity even when things might not work well. A research study in Queensland explored these issues with people with disability.

The researchers found that dignified mobility experiences were not isolated or momentary. Rather, entire travel journeys that were accessible, inclusive, equitable, promoted independence and enhanced self-worth contributed to dignified mobility experiences. And it wasn’t all about infrastructure.

Interpersonal interactions experienced in physical, digital and communication spaces across travel journeys were just as important as physical barriers. A sense of dignity came from feeling respected, appropriately helped and being treated like anyone else. Both tangible and intangible aspects of the whole journey need consideration. The researchers point to a universal design approach.

Universal design, access to accessible and inclusive information, and empathic attitudes help create dignified mobility experiences for people with disability when using buses and trains.

Picture of the Esplanade Busport showing the stop sequence of the trains from the adjoining train station

The research paper provides key information for a universal design approach to dignified journeys. They include detail on accessible and inclusive information and the need for empathic systems and staff.

The title of the article is, The dignity experience of people with disability when using trains and buses in an Australian city.

From the abstract

When transport systems are accessible and inclusive, people with disability experience dignity. When personal mobility is constrained by physical, social and/or communication, barriers, people with disability experience exclusion and risk to their dignity.

This study explored the role of trains and buses in an Australian city in supporting access, inclusion and dignified mobility experiences for people with disability. Twenty-six semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants with diverse visible and invisible disabilities.

The findings highlight the complexities involved with navigating public transport systems while maintaining dignity. Accessible and inclusive information, infrastructure, and interactions with staff ensured dignified mobility experiences.

Dignified mobility experiences represent a complex and dynamic interaction between personal experiences and preferences, impairment-specific requirements, transport infrastructure, interpersonal experiences, and information inclusivity.

Safe children means safe adults

Many parents would like their children to travel to school independently, but they think it’s unsafe to do so. Taking a universal design approach, if we improve pedestrian infrastructure for children, we also make it better for everyone. Safe children means safe adults.

Children are more likely to live closer to school than their parents will live to their workplaces. But do they feel safe to walk? However, walking or riding to school is at the same time workers are driving off to their workplaces – often in a hurry.

School crossing. A man with a child in each hand is crossing the road on a zebra crossing that has a crossing supervisor and an orange flag with the words, children crosing.

Prue Oswin’s survey of parents on the Sunshine Coast revealed their perceived and real barriers to safe walking for their children. Crossing roads without designated crossings was of the most concern. Crossing at roundabouts and roads without a pedestrian refuge island was also concerning. Zebra crossings were the most favoured by parents especially if they were raised. These are the same issues for people with disability and older people.

Pedestrian hot spots tell one story, pedestrian absence tells another. This is where statistical data do not measure journeys not made. Consequently, relying on such data is misleading in the quest to get more people walking and wheeling in their neighbourhoods.

The Safe System approach is about preventing traffic crashes resulting in serious injury. The basic premise is that if a driver or pedestrian makes a mistake, a serious accident is less likely. Oswin’s study shows that there are gaps in this approach that traffic engineers need to address.

Spin offs

The most obvious spin-off from more walking are the health benefits which lead to better concentration and wellbeing. Also if children get walk to and from school independently, parents, usually women, are able to increase their workforce participation. Other beneficiaries are people with mobility impairments, and people who are blind or have low vision. Parents themselves might also be encouraged to walk more.

Designing for people at either end of the age bell curve means that everyone else is included. Consequently, the often forgotten group, children, are key piece of the inclusion jigsaw.

The title of Oswin’s conference paper is, Activating transport to schools with a Safe System, renewable energy and community engagement. There is also a slide deck with lots of photos, graphics and data that underpin the paper and the research.

An academic research paper supports these findings. The paper is titled, Children’s and parents’ perceptions on safe routes to schools: a mixed-methods study investigating factors influencing active school travel.

Abstract

The proportion of children walking or riding to school is dwindling in Australia, while pedestrian injuries are among children’s leading causes of death. A mixed-methods survey was conducted on children and parents of two schools in Australia to understand travel behaviours and attitudes towards active transport to school (ATS).

Results showed that road safety perceptions predicted ATS, unlike distance to school and stranger danger. The design of the routes to school was found to be crucial in facilitating ATS, to address the fear of road danger. Practical implications include the need for more controlled pedestrian crossings and protected bike paths.

Gender inclusivity in streetscapes

In 2010 the Los Angeles Department of Transport published a report on gender inclusivity in streetscapes and transportation planning. The findings showed women and girls, especially those on low incomes, were at a disadvantage in this car-centric city. So what to do about it? The Department of Transport devised infrastructure design strategies that also included amenities in streetscapes.

While there is discussion about gender differences in transportation needs, little improvement has been made to solve the issues. And this is not just in Los Angeles. The first transportation report, Changing Lanes, provided the baseline information. The follow up is a report, using case studies, provides design strategies.

Case studies

Five case studies from different cities informed the recommendations.

  • Street Lighting: Seattle
  • Public Seating: New York
  • Bus Stop Amenities: Portland, Oregon
  • Pedestrian Infrastructure: Minneapolis
  • Bicycle Infrastructure: Austin

Photo credit Steve Morgan for TriMet, Portland Oregon.

Three different bus stops in Portland, Oregon. One is a pole with a perch seat attached, one at night and one in the daytime.

Note the small seat or shelf on the the bus stop pole. Perhaps a perch seat higher up the pole is better for people who cannot rise from a seat placed so low. The bottom right photo indicates a cycle lane between the bus shelter and the boarding platform. However, there is space for prams and wheelchairs under the shelter. Backrests on the seats would add extra comfort.

Planning recommendations

Six recommendations for improvements are based on the case studies.

  • Take a proactive approach to identifying deficiencies in infrastructure
  • Use geospatial data to prioritise
  • Set quantitative goals with success criteria
  • Establish goals between city agencies for partnerships and cooperation
  • Collect self-disclosed information on the gender of participants during public outreach
  • Include a gender equity component in project prioritisation methods
Front cover of the report  Designing Streetscapes for Gender Equity.

This is an easy to read report which supports other research on inclusive and accessible infrastructure. For example, wide level footpaths, kerb extensions and pedestrian safety islands.

The title of the report is Designing Streetscapes for Gender Inclusivity, published by UCLA Institute of Transportation Studies. There are some good examples applicable to many other jurisdictions.

From the abstract

Within the US, Los Angeles has been at the forefront of making efforts to factor gender inclusivity into transportation planning. In 2021, LADOT released Changing Lanes: A Gender Equity Transportation Study. This study found that LA’s current transportation system is not adequately serving low-income people of colour, women, girls, and gender diverse groups.

To address these inequities, LADOT is taking the next steps to implement gender-inclusive transportation infrastructure design strategies. This paper presents case studies that support walking, biking, rolling, and waiting.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with planners from five transportation agencies. Transportation guidelines and plans produced by these agencies were also reviewed. From the information gathered, five case studies were developed.

Each case study focused on a different strategy for improving gender inclusivity in streetscape design. That is, pedestrian street lighting, public seating, bus stop amenities, pedestrian infrastructure, and bike infrastructure. The implementation of these design strategies can ensure the needs of women, girls, and gender diverse groups who rely on active transportation and public transit are met.

Feeling safe, walking and wheeling

If we want to get everyone walking and wheeling for their health, and the health of the environment, a few things have to change. If people don’t feel safe walking and wheeling, they will avoid the journey or take the car. Many people who are blind or have low vision fear a collision with vehicles and cyclists. That makes them feel unsafe on our streets, and means they are less likely to venture from well-known routes in their community.

Pedestrians who are blind or have low vision have difficulty knowing when it is safe to cross at non-signalised crossing points. This is compounded by traffic volume and speed. Not every person with low vision uses a cane or dog indicating to drivers they have reduced vision.

Two young women stand at a pedestrian crossing. One is holding the arm of the other. There is a car in the background on the crossing. Are they feeling safe walking and wheeling?

If you want to know more about the issues encountered by people who are blind or have low vision, take a look at the study by Victoria Walks. They conducted a survey of people with vision impairment and carried out some street audits. The aim was to gain a better understanding of the road and footpath safety issues encountered by this group.

“Difficulty in judging whether it is safe to cross the road” was the biggest overall concern, followed by tripping hazards on the footpath. Crossing the road at non-signalised intersections was not an option for many. Given that most mid-block crossings and intersections are not signalised, this severely limits this group’s mobility. But they are not the only ones. People with poor depth perception and some cognitive conditions find it difficult to judge when to cross.

Interaction with other road users

Drivers are required to give way to pedestrians. However, at traffic lights for example, motorists failing to give way was the biggest concern for people who are blind or have low vision. Failing to give way to pedestrians on the footpath across driveways was another real problem. Shared paths with cyclists, pedestrians with dogs, and just other pedestrians were also an issue.

People who are blind or have low vision are not the only ones with poor road and footpath experiences. Consequently, if we can get it right for this group, every pedestrian should benefit.

An older woman wearing a straw hat, carrying an orange bag, and using a walking cane, crosses the road.

Site audit issues for safe walking and wheeling

Issues common to most areas audited were:
– Tripping hazards and obstructions on the footpath such as low hanging tree branches, shop sandwich boards, and outdoor dining.
– Poor kerb ramp design that potentially sends pedestrians with a vision impairment into the middle of an intersection rather than directly across the road.
– Differences between the width of a crossing and the width of the kerb ramp used to access it causing a potential trip hazard.
– Missing or poorly functioning Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSI) or audio tactiles.

The title of the report is Road Safety for Pedestrians who are Blind or Have Low Vision. There is more detail about each audit location in Victoria and what was recommended. Also more detail from the survey, all of which is instructive.

What happens when tactiles fail

Taking another perspective, Dean Homicki has some short videos explaining the details that matter and why. His latest video is the placement of tactiles at a railway crossing. He titled it, “Why the chicken shouldn’t, couldn’t and didn’t cross the rail-road“.

Walking in Berlin

A working paper based on five participants with disability highlights the small but important details that form barriers to getting around in the public domain. The results of their neighbourhood movements are traced in a map showing the barriers.

The usual barriers are encountered and are specific to Berlin and most likely representative of suburban neighbourhoods in Australia as well. Another paper to add to the collection.

The shortened title of the report is, An explorative case study involving disabled people in Berlin.

It’s not the bus that’s inaccessible

Imagine you could travel to only 1% of the city where you live – areas that were easily accessible to other residents. The main problem is it’s not the bus system itself that’s inaccessible. It’s all the infrastructure around it such as footpaths and kerb ramps. That’s the claim by researchers in Columbus, Ohio.

“People with mobility disabilities need to get to and from bus stops to use public transportation, and that isn’t easy in many parts of the city.”

The roadway is marked with the words "bus stop" in yellow lettering.

The study of wheelchair users who rely on public transport, found that powered wheelchair users were a little better off than manual users. The researchers used high-resolution, real-time data on the usage of buses by people with and without disabilities.

In one analysis, the researchers found how many of the bus stops could get users to various places in the city within 30 minutes. Manual wheelchair users had 75% fewer bus stops they could use compared with non-disabled users. For powered wheelchair users, they experienced 59% fewer stops. Even when they gave them more time to complete the journey, it was little better. That means wheelchair users are confined to self-segregated parts of the city.

Public transit is not a business, it is not just a social service.  It is crucial urban infrastructure and footpaths are part of that.

Ohio Theatre facade showing a level footpath and kerb ramp for the crossing. It isn't the bus that's inaccessible.

The title of the article is, Why buses can’t get wheelchair users to most areas of cities. It was published on the Phys.org website.

The research paper is titled, Disparities in public transit accessibility and usage by people with mobility disabilities. You will need institutional access for a free read.

Abstract

Many people with mobility disabilities (PwMD) rely on public transit to access crucial resources and maintain social interactions. However, they face higher barriers to accessing and using public transit, leading to disparities between people with and without mobility disabilities.

In this paper, we use high-resolution public transit real-time vehicle data, passenger count data, and paratransit usage data from 2018 to 2021 to estimate and compare transit accessibility and usage of people with and without mobility disabilities. We find large disparities in powered and manual wheelchair users’ accessibility relative to people without disabilities.

The city center has the highest accessibility and ridership, as well as the highest disparities in accessibility. Our scenario analysis illustrates the impacts of sidewalks on accessibility disparities among the different groups. We also find that PwMD using fixed-route service are more sensitive to weather conditions and tend to ride transit in the middle of the day rather than during peak hours.

Further, the spatial pattern of bus stop usage by PwMD is different than people without disabilities, suggesting their destination choices can be driven by access concerns. During the COVID-19 pandemic, accessibility disparities increased in 2020, and PwMD disproportionately avoided public transit during 2020, but used it disproportionately more during 2021 compared to riders without disabilities.

This paper is the first to examine PwMD’s transit experience with large high-resolution datasets and holistic analysis incorporating both accessibility and usage. The results fill in these imperative scientific gaps and provide valuable insights for future transit planning.

Design guide for active travel

This design guide aims to improve infrastructure for people wanting to walk, cycle, scoot, and ride mobility devices. That means anyone and everyone who is not a driver of a motor vehicle. This is part of the ACT Government’s policy is to support active travel.

In the Canberra context, unless designated, all paths are shared by people walking, wheeling, cycling and using mobility aids.

Few people fully understand road rules, which is why design treatments must indicate that pedestrians have priority.

A diagram of an intersection taking from the Design Guide .

People using mobility devices and older people are given the label of “vulnerable” pedestrians. This is default language in transport jargon, but serves, unfortunately, to reinforce stereotypes. In reality, all pedestrians are vulnerable compared to motor vehicles.

When all pedestrians are incorporated into designs, we should just talk about “pedestrians walking and wheeling”. And with a Safe Systems Approach there should be no delineation between who is safer than whom.

Movement and Place framework

The Movement and Place framework together with a Safe Systems approach puts people into the centre of the frame. The lens has always been on vehicle traffic flows and the convenience and economics of reducing traffic delays. If we are to have active travel really happening, we have to re-think this priority.

The Design Guide is comprehensive and serves as a “how-to” tool for transport planners. It covers:

  • principles of safe design
  • street types
  • walking
  • cycling and micromobility
  • intersection principles and elements
  • signalisation
  • pedestrian and cycling provision at intersections
  • public transport
  • intersection guidance
Photo of a cycle path from the ACT Design Guide.

The title of the 63 page guide is, Design Guide: Best practices for urban intersections and other active travel infrastructure in the ACT.

Images are from the Design Guide.

Road rules should put walking first

Do vehicles cross pedestrian paths of travel, or do pedestrians cross vehicle paths of travel? We probably assume that unless it is a designated pedestrian crossing, vehicles have the right of way. “Giving way” is complicated. Drivers must exercise duty of care, so whose fault is it if there is a collision with a pedestrian? Janet Wahlquist of WalkSydney, says road rules should put walking first. That includes wheeling as well.

Drivers must always give way to pedestrians if there is danger of colliding with them, however pedestrians should not rely on this and should take great care when crossing any road.

Two women using wheelie walkers are crossing the road in a country town.

However, the above statement is not supported by a road rule, according to Wahlquist. Does this mean a slow moving person can’t cross the street because they might cause a collision? The law gives the benefit of doubt to the driver who can choose whether to give way or not. A person walking into a car makes no sense, but a car hitting a person is life threatening. Wahlquist references the UK Manual for Streets which reverses our ideas of who has right of way.

A diagram showing the order of who should be considered first. The order is Pedestrians, Cyclists, Public Transport Users, Specialist service vehicles, and last, other motor traffic in the road rules.

A recommended hierarchy of street users from the UK Manual for Streets.

Pedestrians first

Public policy aims to promote walking (and wheeling) but preference remains with motor traffic. However, drivers and pedestrians alike are not aware of the current road rules of who gives way to whom and under what circumstances. This is particularly important for slow moving pedestrians who fear a collision if they are not quick enough to cross the road.

Intersections as continuous footpaths

“We believe all intersections without signals – whether marked, courtesy, or unmarked – be legally treated as marked pedestrian crossings. (It might help to mark them to remind drivers of this.) We should think of these intersections as spaces where vehicles cross an implicit continuous footpath, rather than as places where people cross a vehicular lane.”

Wahlquist’s article in The Conversation is, Why road rules should be rewritten to put walking first. The article presents a good arguments for putting pedestrians first. There is a 2010 update to the Manual for Streets.

Good road design

An aerial view of a winding road through a wooded area. Good road design is needed.

How much design thought goes into roads and highway? Is it just left to engineers, or are other designers involved? Seems times are changing and a bit more thought is going into roads in the UK. The Design Council has an article that lists the ten principles of good road design that include words such as inclusive and sustainable. The ten principles are

  1. makes roads safe and useful
  2. is inclusive
  3. makes roads understandable
  4. fits in context
  5. is restrained
  6. is environmentally sustainable
  7. is thorough
  8. is innovative
  9. is collaborative
  10. is long-lasting
Two cars on a road in rural England.

    Fourth progress report

    This work was updated in 2021 with the fourth progress report. Over the past year and a half, the Design Panel made the following key recommendations. Highways England should: 

    • accelerate communication and training to promote and embed its design vision and principles into its processes and culture
    • act on the Design Panel’s recommendations for adapting to climate change, reducing carbon, supporting biodiversity and the design of corridors
    • publish a design strategy to clearly articulate its ambitions for the second road period and beyond

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