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Examining pedestrian attitudes and behaviour: Implications for the design of shared space

Lookup NU author(s): Jack Clarkson, Dr Neil Thorpe, Professor Margaret Carol Bell CBE, Dr Paul Goodman


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Shared space is a design approach that aims to reduce the dominance of motor vehicles by encouraging cooperative behaviour between pedestrians and vehicles. This research represents a unique opportunity to examine the effects of shared space on road user attitudes and behaviour in a before-after case study of a shared space implementation in the U.K. Acorn Road is a busy shopping street in a residential suburb of Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K which has been targeted by Newcastle City Council for development into a shared space scheme. The project aims to boost footfall by creating a better environment for walking and cycling. This paper examines road user attitudes prior to the shared space implementation using a 30 item attitude scale. Survey findings suggest that while respondents feel safe using Acorn Road and perceive Acorn Road to be a thriving retail area that meets most of their shopping needs, traffic congestion is an issue and this has a severance effect on pedestrian accessibility. Factor analysis reveals four factors to road user attitudes: the general road environment, the presence of antisocial behaviour, the interactions between road users and the ambience of the street. These four factors help to shape recommendations for the development of Acorn Road. These findings suggest that the proposed conversion of Acorn Road into a shared space scheme should focus on increasing pedestrian freedom of movement by reducing the effect of severance caused by congestion, thus improving accessibility. This is supported by a desire line analysis of pedestrian crossing behaviour on Acorn Road. The crossing movements of 2500 pedestrians was analysed over a six hour period during a weekday in January 2014 and projected onto a diagram of Acorn Road. It suggests that certain sections of Acorn Road may not be fully accessible to pedestrians, with movements clustered into distinct corridors, rather than evenly distributed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Clarkson J, Thorpe N, Bell M, Goodman P

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Unpublished

Conference Name: 47th Annual UTSG Conference

Year of Conference: 2015