Pedestrian Comfort Guidance for London

Pedestrian Comfort Guidance for London


E Finch, G Iverson, Atkins, UK; J Dye, Transport for London, UK


An assessment tool developed by TfL and Atkins to evaluate the level of crowding on footways and crossings. This is supported by guidance for understanding this in relation to different preferences for space in different area types.


"Footway provision is an important factor in encouraging or hindering walking. Footway space and, in particular, the width of footways, represents the infrastructure that supports walking as a mode of transport.

Transport for London (TfL) wants to encourage walking for a wide range of reasons, including easing demand on public transport, and to discourage unsafe behaviours such as walking on the carriageway in crowded areas. TfL is therefore aiming to reduce pedestrian crowding and congestion through taking a consistent approach to footway design in new and improvement schemes on the Transport for London Road Network.

TfL commissioned Atkins to research and deliver a guidance document for determining the level of crowding on footways and crossings (a quantitative measure expressed in people per metre of footway per minute) and explaining what is desirable in different areas and environments. It was important to understand the differences between area types so that the guidance supports complementary initiatives such as regeneration and streetscene projects.

The primary objective of the guidance is to assist those responsible for planning streets to create excellent and safe pedestrian environments through a clear, consistent process during the planning and implementation of transport improvement projects.

The guidance provides a comprehensive approach by:
?Taking into account different user behaviours within a variety of area types, from high streets to transport interchanges
?Including the real impact of street furniture and static pedestrians
?Going further than existing standards such as Fruin Level of Service which simply assess crowding. This guidance is based on comfort and takes into account user perceptions as well as observed behaviours
?Providing a standard approach for the assessment and review of comfort on footways and crossings
?Providing a template for recording data and generating results

This innovative project is the first large-scale study into these issues for over a decade, including the development of bespoke analysis tools. Moreover, it combines observed behaviour with stated preferences on comfort.

The guidance is also designed to be easy to use. At 20 pages long, it is a short document, with an accompanying spreadsheet to record data and generate results. It also suggests mitigation measures.

Although the project was developed in London, it should be applicable throughout Europe as it is based on area types. It provides clear guidance to ensure that the design of pedestrian footways and crossings are appropriate to the volume and type of users in the environment. Furthermore, undertaking a comfort assessment will allow teams to make informed decisions when balancing different user needs in a transport scheme."


Association for European Transport