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Roads: Sight Impaired

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will introduce a moratorium on all shared surface streets incorporating roads and pavements until after the publication of his Department’s research into the effect of shared surface street design on partially sighted people. (270295)

We have no plans for a moratorium on shared surface street schemes. The Department for Transport is aware of and appreciates the concerns of some disabled people regarding shared surfaces, but there is no conclusive evidence that such schemes are inherently less safe than conventionally kerbed streets. There is a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence that shared space schemes (which often include shared surfaces) enhance the public realm, and can deliver accessibility benefits without compromising safety.

The Department intends to make evidence-based policy in this area, and to understand how shared space could be made to work for all road users, including visually impaired people. It is for this reason that the Department is conducting a comprehensive two-year research project into shared space, aimed at informing future policy and guidance.