About the Go Cycle Programme

Shared use national guidance and research

Go Cycle






'Shared spaces' is an urban design approach which seeks to minimise the segregation of pedestrians and vehicles.  This is done by removing traditional features such as kerbs, road surface markings and traffic signs.

The Department for Transport (DfT) defines this as 'shared use routes', and explains that they can be segregated or unsegregated.

"A segregated route is one where pedestrians and cyclists are separated by a feature such as a white line, a kerb or some other feature.  On an unsegregated route, pedestrians and cyclists mix freely and share the full width of the route."

National advice

Shared space schemes have been subject of a number studies and design guidance documents in recent years. 

  • DfT - Local Transport Note 1/12

DfT produced an advice note in 2012 entitled Shared Use Routes for Pedestrians and Cyclists.  It gives guidance to designers and takes account of the requirements of The Equality Act 2010.  The document sets out core principles to be considered and focuses on specific site assessment.  The document states that "segregation need no longer be considered the starting point in the design process."

The DfT has confirmed that their request to pause (creation of) level surface shared space schemes, focuses on areas with relatively large amounts of pedestrian and vehicular movement (Local Transport Note 1/11). They have further verified that 'shared use routes' for pedestrians and cyclists are not included or affected by this pause. 

  • Transport for London - London Cycling Design Standards 2014 

TfL issued the London Cycling Design Standards (LCDS) in 2014, which is the fundamental design document for all TfL funded cycle schemes including Cycle Super Highways, Quietways and the three Mini-Holland boroughs (Kingston, Enfield and Waltham Forest).

It states that shared use facilities may be considered for public spaces or other short links where cyclists are catered for in spaces otherwise dedicated to pedestrians. The standard also states that in such areas, pedestrians continue to have priority and courteous behaviour from cyclists is essential if they are to work well, without conflict. Therefore care should be taken to avoid indicating to cyclists that they have any priority over pedestrians.

  • SUSTRANS - Segregation of Shared Use Routes Technical Note 19 - 2014

Sustrans is a national organisation that works with communities, policy-makers and partner organisations so that people can choose healthier, cleaner and cheaper journeys and enjoy better, safer spaces where they live

Sustrans produced a Technical Note on shared paths in 2014 and concluded that:

"In Sustrans' experience there are significant advantages with unsegregated paths where the width is shared by all users, particularly on traffic-free routes away from the road. Unsegregated routes maximise usable width and minimise maintenance requirements and sign/line clutter.  Effective segregation will benefit all users but requires significant additional width to provide the same level of service." 

Sustrans found that:

  • More considerate behaviour is observed on unsegregated routes
  • Segregated routes can encourage territorial behaviour
  • Narrow segregated routes have higher levels of non-compliance

Safety Research

'Shared Space Operational Review'  - Atkins / DfT 2012
This report produced for DfT in 2012 focussed on a study of segregated and unsegregated cycle routes in Cambridge, Norwich and other UK cities.  The findings of this project suggest that collisions are no more likely on unsegregated routes than segregated ones.

Safety Key Facts* 

  • Pedestrians are more likely to be injured or killed in collision with a motor vehicle than in collision with a cyclist, even if they are walking on the verge or footway (pavement).  This is all the more surprising because, unlike driving, most cycling takes place where there are high levels of pedestrian activity.
  • Around 98% of serious or fatal pedestrian injuries in urban areas (i.e. where pedestrians are most likely to be) are due to collisions with motor vehicles.
  • The vast majority of vehicle-related pedestrian injuries on the footway/verge involve a motor vehicle, not a cycle: from 2005-14 (GB), 98.5% of pedestrian fatalities and 95.7% of pedestrian serious injuries that happened in collisions on a footway/verge involved a motor vehicle. 
  • From 2005-14, no pedestrians in Britain were killed by red light jumping cyclists, while around five a year were killed by red light jumping drivers. 

*(DfT, Reported Road Casualties Great Britain 2014)

Shared use - Kingston Town Centre


Example of successful 'Shared spaces/Shared Use routes': Kingston Town centre: Ancient Market, Church Street, Castle Street, west of Clarence Street.

Kingston has a history of successful 'Shared spaces/Shared Used routes' with high numbers of pedestrians and cyclists footfall. 

In spite of this proximity between both modes, in the last five years, only one accident has occurred between a pedestrian and a cyclist. 

Observation supports the research that cyclists are able to mix harmoniously with pedestrians and are not a source of danger to them, even in narrower places like Church and Castle Street.

Very clear patterns of usage emerge.  During a weekday at peak times the shared use is highly frequented by cyclists who are commuting or on school runs with a low frequency of pedestrians.  At other times, pedestrian frequency is high, and cyclists adapt their speed. 

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