Traffic signal switch-off trial

Discussion started: 01/03/10
Discussion ended: 31/03/10


For one week in March 2010, to test the idea of shared space in the city centre by conducting junction evaluation trials, Bristol City Council announced plans to switch off traffic signals at two busy road junctions to see whether they could operate safely and more effectively for pedestrians and cyclists as well as motorists.  A leaflet was produced detailing the plans.

Two sites were carefully selected from an initial list of seven due to each having low vehicle speeds with high visibility which particularly limits the risk to people on foot.

Union Street / Broadmead (the first pilot site)

Broad Quay / Prince St / Marsh  St (the second pilot site)

The approaches to the sites were marked with advance warning signs, and the signal heads were switched off and bagged up.  The roads were closely monitored by CCTV throughout the trial, which was assessed using a number of pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle surveys together with a qualitative assessment of pedestrian crossing movement.  The junctions were again monitored during the following week to make a before and after comparison.

Local transport consultants Colin Buchanan have extensive experience carrying out similar trials in London and North Somerset and have been commissioned to monitor and report on the before-and-after conditions.  The trial assessment report included an assessment of the impact on traffic flows and the effect on bus, cycle and pedestrian movements.

Cllr Jon Rogers - Cabinet Member for Transport and SustainabilityCouncillor Jon Rogers, Bristol City Council’s Executive Member for Transport and Sustainability said

“We have a rare opportunity to test the concept of shared space in a busy urban UK setting. I hope we will see a positive effect on road user behaviour”.

Comment wrap-up

Thank you to all those who shared their comments on the trial.  Our Traffic Signals Manager, John Laite responds:

The Traffic Signal Evaluation Trail is now in assessment stage.  The two sets of traffic signals that were switched off as part of the trial have been returned to full operation.  Four weeks of video from three CCTV camera together with responses from pedestrian interviews are being assessed at present.  The results will be included in a final study report to be published by Bristol City Council.  The report will include a thorough review of the various issues involved in the trial, it will present analysis of the data which has been collected together with the findings from the consultants, Colin Buchanan.  The report will conclude with recommendations for t he future operation of the trial sites.

You can view the closed discussion thread here.