The shared space controversy took a new twist today as the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) told MPs it is not producing new shared space guidance despite assurances from government that it was.
CIHT director of policy Andrew Hugill revealed the Institution is in fact carrying out a review of shared spaced and would only make a series of recommendations, including calls for further research.
MPs on the Women and Equalities Select Committee pointed out that the Department for Transport (DfT) has previously declined to update its shared space guidance Local Transport Note 1/11, 2011, despite heavy criticism, because it suggested CIHT would be producing new guidance anyway.
In a 2015 Lords debate on the issue, transport secretary Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon told peers that ‘the Government are currently working alongside the CIHT to produce guidance on shared streets to build on the department’s guidance in the local transport note’.
However when questioned by MPs, Mr Hugill said CIHT was not producing guidance and the review would not be sufficient to end controversy over the design concept.
‘Our review will make recommendations for further areas of work so the review in itself will not be sufficient to change everything,’ he said.
Transport Network also understands the review is not due for completion until spring 2017 around a year later than first expected.
Mr Hugill added that in order to produce guidance CIHT would need support and resources from government, stressing that shared space was ‘not just a transport issue’ but a place issue.
CIHT has called for more cross-government work on the issue and in written submissions stated that ‘Government should commission detailed research into the differing needs of people with physical and mental impairments, including how the needs of different groups should be balanced’.
Lord Holmes, who is a former Paralympian and has called for a moratorium on shared space until more research and guidance was available, said more leadership was needed from across government, including DfT and the Communities department.
Lord Holmes told the select committee that the continuing shared space agenda was using pedestrians as ‘human shields’ and stressed that inclusivity needed to be at the heart of public design.