Headlines: February 9th, 2010

A city council has announced that it is switching off traffic signals at two busy road junctions in an experiment to see whether they can operate safely and more effectively for pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists. Bristol Council says the move is a rare opportunity to test the idea of shared space.

The two sites have been chosen, after careful risk assessment, because they each have low vehicle speeds and high visibility which particularly limits the risks to people on foot. The sites were chosen from a shortlist of seven possible locations, the other five having failed the risk assessment for a variety of reasons, including speed and the presence of school crossings.

The roads will be monitored through CCTV and the trial is expected to start before Easter following a period of monitoring before the signals are switched off. The junctions will be observed for safety reasons at all times but after the switch off there will be a settling in period before comparisons are made. The authority will measure the impact on traffic flows, including the effect on bus, cycle and pedestrian movements before and during the trial.

Councillor Jon Rogers, the Council’s Executive Member for Transport and Sustainability, said: “Our officers are being innovative and responsive. We have a rare opportunity to test the concept of shared space in a busy urban UK setting. I hope we will see a positive effect on road user behaviour.”