The Pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square: How Do We Deliver a Sustainable Scheme At a World Heritage Site?

The Pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square: How Do We Deliver a Sustainable Scheme At a World Heritage Site?


F Kamali, Atkins Transport Planning; T Earl, Transport for London, UK



Trafalgar Square is a World Heritage Site at the Heart of London. The Square, despite the grandure of the buildings and the significance of their heritage was unfriendly and dominated by car. The removal of 4 lanes of traffic from in front of the National Gallery to create a pedestrian friendly environment has been one of the aspirations of many Londoners. A team of Urban Master Planners was appointed by Westminster City Council in mid 90s to prepare a masterplan for Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, improving the environment for all road users.

The main aims of the study were to:
* improve pedestrian access to, in and around the Square;
* provide a high standard of urban design in the public realm. The new design must reflect the international importance of the existing historic townscape and complement and enhance the historic street furniture that is to remain;
* improve the reliability of, and reduce journey times for buses;
* improve opportunity for visitor enjoyment and appreciation of the Square.

We were then appointed by Westminster City Council to design and implement the scheme which culminated in the pedestrianisation of Trafalgar Square which was opened in July 2003 by the Mayor of London.

The detail design of the scheme meant deviation from the usual practice in order to provide far more superior facilities for pedestrians in the immediate environ of the Square. A proportion of traffic capacity had to be taken off the system in order to provide the pedestrians with a number of facilities including uninterrupted crossings all over the network to the south side of the square.

The final scheme provides a new gateway between the West End and Whitehall. The main features of the scheme include:

* Pedestrianisation of the north side of the square;
* New traffic circulation around Charles I Island and improved facilities for buses;
* New Central Staircase;
* New Lighting Features;
* Better access by new at-grade pedestrian crossings and disabled lifts;
* A new Café.

The new design of the square is complemented with major improvements to the approach roads where all footways have been widened and repaved with Yorkstones.

The scheme could only be realised after many months of public consultation with 100s of interested groups to ensure that the design takes on board concerns raised by public transport users, Black cabs, mobility impaired organisations and English Heritage. The new heart of London, where people can enjoy the grandeur of the surrounding buildings was given back to Londoners by the Mayor in July 2003.


Association for European Transport