Shared space

A close up of a cane on confusing tactile in a shared space scheme
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. 
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.