Traffic expert Ben Hamilton-Baillie discusses the results of a pilot project for changing roads to more “shared space” in the town of Ashford in Kent, UK.
As a driver entering the new streets, you are immediately aware that this is somewhere different, somewhere special. It feels quite unlike a normal urban road. You start to pay extra attention, and to become more alert to other people and to your surroundings. The narrower apparent width of the carriageways, the absence of road markings and signals, the lighting, low kerbs and distinctive paving all help to encourage low speeds, whether you are familiar with the space or a newcomer. Every aspect of the scheme contributes to establishing a naturally low-speed, free-flowing environment.