March 2011

Professor Rob Imrie and Research Fellow Marion Kumar, King’s College London

Local councils are failing to take the needs of people with sight loss into account when developing shared space policies, new research funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust has found. Shared space policy, which seeks to minimise the segregation of pedestrians and vehicles, has a significant impact on people with visual impairments, but consultation is left until late in the planning process.

Key Facts: Shared space policies and sight loss

  • Local authorities develop ‘shared spaces’ as part of an economic revitalisation of town centres.
  • Features delineating different surfaces such pavements and roads are not always detectable by people with sight loss.
  • There is little evidence of people with sight loss being involved at strategic levels of policy making. Consultations with the public generally do not take place until late in the policy process.

How can this research help?

Researchers behind the study, ‘Shared Space and Sight Loss: Policies and Practices in English Local Authorities’, have developed a list of policy principles that can guide local councils in future planning decisions.

Links: 

Research Findings: Shared Space and Sight Loss: Policies and Practices in English Local Authorities – PDF version and Word version