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 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 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: Safe to Cross
Is it safe to cross? Right now, thousands of people like Alan, Elise and Pardy will feel unsafe as they try to cross a UK street, watch our video to understand why.
"With the removal of these crossings, I am expected to make eye contact with vehicles, which I simply cannot do and it's incredibly frustrating, and worrying for me. I can’t tell if it’s safe to cross or not and I don’t want to take that risk.” - Pardy, Leicester
We’re calling on the Government, those responsible for designing and maintaining our streets, and indeed everyone who shapes the world we live in to include Alan, Elise and Pardy. They represent the needs of hundreds of thousands of UK citizens whose needs aren’t currently included in the design of everyday things such as streets and public spaces. If they were, they’d be able to get on with their lives.