Evidence and Research
There many benefits from creating people-focussed city centres, and many cities which have done it in various ways. This page will provide some links to evidence for just a few of these. There are also many myths about the consequences of diverting through traffic, for example: “it will be bad for business” (there much evidence for the opposite – see below) and “closing roads means all the traffic just moves onto surrounding streets” (see below).
- Breathing the air in Bristol City Centre is equivalent to smoking 27 cigarettes a day: Guardian article
The Benefits and Impacts of Pedestrian Improvements and Road Closures
- Access Restrictions an international review of the evidence from EVIDENCE, an EU-funded project.
- Sinnett, D., Williams, K., Chatterjee, K. and Cavill, N., (2011) Making the Case for Investment in the Walking Environment: A Review of the Evidence. Living Streets, London.
What Happens to Surrounding Streets When Through Traffic is Removed?
- Cairns, S., Atkins, S. and Goodwin, P. (2002) Disappearing traffic? The story so far. Municipal Engineer [online]. 151 (1), pp.13-22.
The Economic Benefits of Improving Pedestrian Environments
- Sustrans (2003) Traffic restraint and retail vitality.
- Sandahl, J. and Lindh, C. (1995) Impact of improving the attractiveness of town centres. Transport Policy. 2 (1), pp.51-56. Abstract (full text available through payment or library subscription)
- Whitehead, T., Simmonds, D. and Preston, J. (2006) The effect of urban quality improvements on economic activity. Journal of Environmental Management. 80 (1), pp.1-12. Abstract (full text available through payment or library subscription).
- Hass-Klau, C. (1993) Impact of pedestrianization and traffic calming on retailing: A review of the evidence from Germany and the UK. Transport Policy. 1 (1), pp. 21-31. Abstract (full text available through payment or library subscription)
Positive Evidence from British Cities
- Many British cities have improved their city centres by diverting traffic. Examples include York, Oxford, Bath, Birmingham Cambridge , Aberdeen and Brighton. Several of these cities have decided to extend their pedestrian centres (though some plans have been delayed by spending cuts). York City Council has recently voted to close Lendal Bridge in the centre of the city to motor traffic. There has been relatively little research into these changes, however.
- The following review was conducted of the partial pedestrianisation of Brighton’s Old Town:
- Melia, Steve and Shergold, Ian (2015) Pedestrianisation and politics: Evidence gaps and a case study of Brighton’s Old Town. In: 47th Annual UTSG Conference, London, UK, 5-7 January 2015.
- One recent exception is the 2009 study by Sustrans into the extension of the pedestrianised centre of Leicester.
- The following report describes changes made to Trafalgar Square in London: The Pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square: How Do We Deliver a Sustainable Scheme At a World Heritage Site?
- Outterside, W.E. (1995) Integrated traffic management in historic towns: the City of York. Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Municipal Engineer. 109 (4), pp. 271-277. Abstract (full text available through payment or library subscription)
- Parkhurst, G. (2003) Regulating Cars and Buses In Cities: The Case Of Pedestrianisation in Oxford. Economic Affairs. 23 (2), pp. 16-21. Abstract (full text available through payment or library subscription)
- Our twin city of Bordeaux removed through traffic and created a living heart in the early years of this century. The following video shows a before and after (some dialogue in French, but mostly visual).
- European Commission, (2004) Reclaiming City Streets for People: Chaos Or Quality of Life? [online]. http://ec.europa.eu: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
- One of the best examples from Europe is Groningen in the North of the Netherlands – extract from the PhD thesis of Steve Melia
- Tsubohara, S., (2007) The Effect and Modification of the Traffic Circulation Plan (VCP)-Traffic Plannign in Groningen in the 1980s. Report number: 317.Groningen: Urban and Regional Studies Institute.
- Gemzoe, L. (2001) Copenhagen on foot: thirty years of planning & development. World Transport Policy and Practice [online].
- 7 (4), pp.19-27.
Why ‘Shared Space’ (where cars and people mingle) Should not be Viewed as an Alternative to Traffic Removal
- Melia, S. (2011) The DfT’s shared space guidance is based on flawed research and political spin. Local Transport Today, 585.
- Moody, S. and Melia, S. (2011) Shared space – implications of recent research for transport policy. In Press [online], University of the West of England.
- Video of debate between Living Heart member Steve Melia and Ben Hamilton-Baillie about shared space.