Shared space survey asks for bus driver opinions

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Paralympic Champion and Parliamentarian Lord Chris Holmes has launched a survey to investigate public attitudes to shared space.

Lord Holmes is blind and strongly believes that shared space which minimises demarcations between vehicle traffic and pedestrians is dangerous. Shared space schemes remove features such as curbs, road surface markings, traffic signs, controlled crossings and regulations.

Lord Holmes said shared space means there are no separate safe spaces for pedestrians and no clear regulations for drivers. The Highway Code has no clear instructions on shared space.

While blind and partially sighted people have particular difficulties with the schemes, the survey also aims to generate evidence from other groups, such as other pedestrians and drivers. Lord Holmes said, anecdotally, he had noticed drivers talk of serious concerns when driving in these spaces.

In the UK the number of shared space schemes is increasing, with many local authorities planning new schemes. The Department for Transport’s official position on shared space schemes is ‘neutral,’ though it does issue advice to local authorities. Lord Holmes claimed that an academic study looking at the evidence underpinning the guidance had concluded that the claims made were not supported by the evidence.

Lord Holmes stated: “It is imperative that we take a proper look at the consequences of these schemes before it is too late. I hope this survey will cast some much needed light on the unintended but nevertheless terrible impact shared space schemes are having on so many people.”

The survey aims to produce a national picture of all road users experiences, though the opinions of bus drivers are of particular interest, since their experiences and opinions on shared spaces are not well known and so many shared space schemes exists around bus stations.

INFO

The survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/sharedspacesurvey. Lord Holmes has also written a blog on the subject, which can be found at https://lordsoftheblog.net/2015/01/15/two-eyes-in-inclusion/