Shared space

Shared space, also known as shared surfaces, is a new design approach used by local authorities to improve the urban environment for everyone. In a shared space the physical divides between the footways and the roads are reduced or removed altogether, meaning pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles all have to share the space. 

A close up of a cane on confusing tactile in a shared space scheme
 
Shared space aims to slow down traffic, reduce accidents and make an urban space more flexible and attractive for everyone. However, for blind and partially sighted people, shared space design often means the removal of detectable kerbs, tactile pavement markings and signal-controlled crossings, which are really important for navigation, accessibility, inclusion and safety. 
 
We’re concerned that shared space schemes don’t make streets safer and more accessible for blind and partially sighted people, they make it worse. We welcome the recent decision by the Government to pause shared space schemes but we have to ask - what happens next?
 
We want all public space schemes to guarantee that pedestrians have inclusive crossings, accessible kerbs and the correct tactile pavement markings. 

How I See

RNIB believes that streets should be safe and accessible to everyone. We have made this film with three active campaigners who have been calling on their local authorities to deliver this goal. 
 

How someone who is blind or partially sighted crosses the road


 

What's already happening in your local area?

If you would like to campaign against a shared space scheme in your part of the country you can contact your Regional Campaigns Officer to find out if we're already challenging a scheme in your local area, to discuss your campaigning ideas and to link up with other campaigners.
 

Further information