Self-calming roads

There is widespread desire for streets which are safe for pedestrians and free of signage clutter. Working with the Transport Research Laboratory, we conducted a research study for the Highways Agency that intended to inform future highway design standards.

We identified examples of major roads where the configuration of the built environment appeared to encourage speeding. Proposed urban design
interventions were modelled and visualised in 3D and participants were then measured to see if their driving behaviour was modified by the changed environment.

Techniques for doing this included a full driving simulation in a car surrounded by back-projection screens displaying the driver's view of the road.

The results showed that, on average, urban design measures reduced speeds by 2-3 mph. Interestingly, with groups of young males, the design changes reduced their speeds by 8-9 mph.


Highways Agency and Transport Research Laboratory

Research and design guidance