Transport Planning Associates, Ashfield Land and Swindon Borough Council
The design vision was to reinforce the public associated with Ashfield’s Land’s £45m leisure and retail development, as a unified quality space for people and with a clear pedestrian link to the town centre.
The adjacent gyratory system had been historically overtly engineered and with traffic flows of 800vph provided a barrier to the site. A fundamental component of the scheme was the removal of all the traffic signal control and associated clutter. The design was developed following and early quality audit to consider the needs of all users. The critical design objective was low vehicle speeds. This was successfully achieved by several detailed design features that principally included 10m long raised informal pedestrian block paved crossings, to provide a visual continuity for pedestrians from the adjacent public realm, but a discontinuity for the narrowed 3.5 wise carriageway for approaching drivers, and 25m long transition sections from entry gateways, with sett ramps to regulate 85% speeds to 17 mph at the crossing points,
A conflict study undertaken by the Stage 3 Road Safety Audit Team observed during two hours of the evenings peak, no conflicts between moving vehicles and pedestrians. They also recorded 83% eastbound drivers stopped when a pedestrian approached the crossing area, to allow the pedestrian to cross.
Ashfield Land advised it was ‘fully supportive of the shared surface principle and is extremely pleased with the outcome which exceeds expectations… It works brilliantly…There has been a dramatic improvement to the town centre and its community pride.’
This scheme was a good example of how the use of the quality audit process can contribute to scheme development. It is a transformative scheme which is likely to have significant impact on the town centre. The judges liked the use on an easily maintainable palette of materials.