In this post I want to elaborate more from lecture three “Sustainable Urban Transport”, by Martin Podevyn, Senior Urban Designer, at Sustrans. In Martin’s lecture he emphasised on how the road did not have boundaries and belonged to a mixture of users, but up until the contemporary society did motor vehicles become a more dominant option for users. The use of motor vehicles causes high level of pollutions, less social interaction and health issues. Martin expressed how changing to a bike, or public transport would be more sustainable, but Roger Geller’s analysis suggests behaviour like fear, affect the way we use transport…
What is the idea of urban transport? Is it simply a trendy system, or towards the future of sustainable development and sharing road surfaces? In the present day the road can reflect segregation between cars, pedestrians and cyclists. There is a hierarchy present. Perhaps, the road before the New Age would present much more freedom to movement, where there was no distinct boundary. It can be argued by author Carlton Reid (2015, p.54) that there are three types of ‘public territory’, which are personal, temporal and public. The road is classified as a public territory. Though, the word ‘territory’ instigates a cautious note to those who trespass this sphere. Thus, I want to discuss the meaning of urban transport network and regulations that help to improve the relationship between road users, such as the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation (CIHT), in the UK.
The definition of urban transport, or also known as ‘… Urban Transportation Network (UTN) [allows] the interaction between the transportation capacity of the infrastructures and the mobility demands.’ (Di Febbraro and Sacco, 2008, p.102). The UTN can be seen as a way to organise the users of the road to avoid conflict between this space. Throughout the 21st Century there has been an been an increase in the use of bikes as a mode of transport, but cars still remain dominant in this territory. This can be represented by the statistics from the UK below:
In figure 1 it shows that only 5% are bike users compared to 48% being car/ van drivers, whilst cycling is the only mode of transport that shows a positive and large increase with trips and distance, shown in figure 2. Another factor that I realised is those who are cycling could be using a car too. Thus, the frequency of using the car may counteract the frequency of cycling by the same person.
How do you improve the relationship with cars and cyclists?
Designing urban road is a slow process, which cannot be transformed over night, but it is significant to understand the basic philosophies of human activities, to allow a progressive process. As author Colin Pooley (2013, p.67) notes that physical environment is shaped by human activities, an example of this includes, land use patterns, distribution of activities across space; when designing transportation networks. This can be further supported because the road is a place to allow “…range of activities varying in tone and breath…” (A. Annunziata and F. Annunziata, 2014, p.340). Therefore, it is important that the UTN to acknowledge the movements of the human, whether people’s mode of choice is cycling, or by car because the road is a collective space for all.
Additionally, there are different type of motions that exists around car circulation, which can be used as a guide to design the UTN, they are:
- Small-size – slight diffused movement.
- Medium-size – entering a specific part of urban quarter.
- Large-size – movement across distant areas.
Where cycling is considered a medium-size motion (A. Annunziata and F. Annunziata, 2014, p.344).
I feel this is where the CIHT comes in, as their ethos is to balance the movement of people and goods but also creating a positive impact to the place it sits – a shared space (CIHT, 2018, p.7). The CIHT (2018, p.10) noted in the Local Transport Note 1/11, defining ‘shared space’ as, “…enabling all users to share the space rather than follow the clearly defined rules implied by more conventional designs.” Moreover, the diagram below sets out the hierarchy from how the CIHT while carrying out the shared space scheme to meet the Equality Act 2010, to reduce discrimination of road users.
Overall, the UTN is integral to reconcile the relationship of cyclists and motor users but also people who use other modes of transportation. The road belongs to the public space. It should not be viewed as a territorial sphere but a phenomenon to allow the exchange of activities and should be collectively designed to allow the continuity of these activities to take place. Further, regulations such as those from the CIHT, makes a part of the UTN to help increase a mixture of motions on the road to increase sharable and inclusive roads.
Thank you for reading my blog post!