TRL calls on cities to adapt so active travel and increased safety for vulnerable road users can co-exist

Industry: Automotive

TRL highlights the requirement for changes in city design to incorporate measures that will increase both shared mobility and active travel through cycling or walking

Wokingham (PRUnderground) February 5th, 2019

TRL, the global centre for innovation in transport and mobility, is highlighting the requirement for changes in city design to incorporate measures that will increase both shared mobility and active travel through cycling or walking. Not only will this assist with such initiatives as the Road to Zero and the development of smart cities, it will also place the UK on a journey towards a connected future.

This follows exploratory analysis completed by TRL that identified 96,345 short car journeys that theoretically could have been walked or cycled in 2015 alone. Although it is understood that casualty numbers could increase if more people took an active travelling approach, this estimate is much lower than the direct projection of current casualties due to an effect known as Safety in Numbers (SiN). This is a widely accepted phenomenon that observes the relationship between more cyclists on the roads and a reduced collision risk per cyclist.

In addition, referencing the successes of other countries, along with various schemes in London, TRL claims it is possible to increase cycling, while decreasing casualties by making changes to street design and infrastructure, as well as reviewing priority and liability laws.

Marcus Jones, Principal Consultant, Sustainable Mobility Group, TRL, believes that measures need to be introduced to restore balance to a road system historically designed to prioritise motor traffic that, as an unintended consequence, has imposed risk and inconvenience on vulnerable road users. Marcus comments: “It is easy to focus on the rise in predicted casualties and reconsider the merits of healthy mobility, when weighed against the seemingly unavoidable rise in casualties. But this doesn’t have to be the case. It is possible for healthy mobility and increased safety for vulnerable road users to co-exist.

“Not only do we need to tackle attitudes in the UK, but we need to understand the successes of other countries, like the Netherlands and Denmark: the challenges they overcame, and how they adapted their cities to accommodate new designs, infrastructure, policies and initiatives in line with recent NICE recommendations. If we take a mobility by design approach that places safety at the centre of initiatives from the onset, we can reap the rewards of active travel, without compromising safety.”

Solutions put forward by TRL include reducing traffic speed by designing people-friendly streets, rather than retrofitting speed bumps; creating more space and segregation for cyclists, while maintaining priority and directness; introducing better crossing provision for pedestrians on busy roads, with improved waiting and crossing times at signalised crossings; changes to priority rules at side road crossings for cyclists, supported by design that reduced the speed of turning vehicles; and consideration of presumed liability laws, where motorised road users take greater responsibility for collisions with vulnerable road users.

To review the analysis in full, please visit:

About TRL

TRL is a global centre for innovation in transport and mobility. It provides world-leading research, technology and software solutions for surface transport modes and related markets engaged in intelligent, new mobility innovations.

Independent from government, industry and academia, TRL helps organisations create global transport systems that are safe, clean, affordable, liveable and efficient.

Established in 1933 within the British Government as the UK\’s Transport Research Laboratory, TRL was subsequently privatised in 1996. Today, TRL has more than 1,000 clients across 145 countries, driving positive societal and economic benefit worldwide.

Core areas of expertise include: infrastructure asset management & asset technologies; intelligent transport systems & traffic operations; sustainability & healthy mobility; vehicle safety engineering & technology research; major incident investigations; human factors safety & behavioural science.

TRL is strategically investing, producing disruptive research and delivering innovation linked to:
• Connected & self-driving vehicles
• Ultra-low emission technologies
• Shared mobility services
• Intelligent asset information
• Big data, machine learning & artificial intelligence.

Head-quartered in the UK, nearly 1/3rd of TRL’s business is with overseas organisations. Its international focus covers Europe, India, Africa & Middle East, plus wider Commonwealth countries, supported by strategic collaborations in North America and Asia Pacific.

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