It’s no surprise seeing new temporary street layouts popping up in and around cities. London alone has 50+ pavement widening schemes in addition to cycle lanes, street closures and reduced speed zones. With the help of local boroughs, TfL is implementing interventions to address social distancing measures, encourage active travel and reduce reliance on public transportation under their Streetspace initiative.
Vivacity is working alongside local authorities and transportation organisations, including TfL, to support in developing a baseline measure for new layouts and analysing their effectiveness. Our coverage spans over 20 cities across the UK, capturing active travel (anonymous) data in realtime.
Local authorities are keen to capture the impact of initiatives on modal shift behaviour in order to build safe and attractive spaces to commute and travel while improving air quality. Many of our existing sensor networks are in close proximity to the proposed and recently built schemes.
One of our clients, Westminster City Council, has introduced measures to discourage vehicle congestion by increasing footpath space to improve social distancing. One intervention is situated close to St John’s Wood’s busy junction near their high street. The image below displays the proximity between the intervention and our sensor’s location (green camera pin).
Image 1: Streetspace intervention on St John’s Wood High Street
Westminster has closed the left-hand lane on the high street for pedestrians (sometime in early July) – seen in images 3 and 4.
Image 2: Vivacity sensor capturing St John’s Wood High Street- June
Image 3: Vivacity sensor capturing St John’s Wood High Street- July
Image 4: Vivacity sensor capturing St John’s Wood High Street – September
As this intervention was put in place, we can see that it has amplified the pedestrian volumes as the extra space has accommodated more people walking at a distance. The intervention was introduced in early July (based on our data), after which all motorised vehicle volumes drop to 70% below normal levels. Whereas pedestrians steadily soar above 145% compared to June conditions.
Graph 1: Change in pedestrian vs. vehicle volumes on St John’s Wood High Street
As a result, vehicle volumes reduced significantly on St Johns Wood High Street and affected vehicle volumes travelling across to St Ann’s Terrace as they’re limited to cross the junction seen in the below graph.
Graph 2: Change in vehicle volumes compared to June conditions
Furthermore, the walking volumes on the non-extended side (highlighted in blue on the second graph) have also increased showing the positive impact reducing vehicles in an environment can have when looking to prioritise active travel.
Graph 3: Change in pedestrian volumes along St John’s Wood High Street compared to June conditions
There has been a consistent increase in pedestrians over the resulting period, despite the preference for taking personal vehicles in this time. Westminster is one of the many case studies Vivacity examines.
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Feature image source: designandbuilduk.net