TRL assembles taskforce to map the future of the UK’s kerbsides

Approaches from the past will not allow us to gain the benefits of tomorrow’s technology; partners from the SMLL Innovation Community will seek solutions

Published on 25 May 2022

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TRL has assembled a taskforce to seek ways to optimise the management of kerbside space across the UK and make roads safer. The taskforce aims to articulate the problems faced by road users, by network managers and by the councils who could use pavements to generate new revenue. The taskforce will look for practical solutions, and offer the results to national leaders to raise the profile of the issues.

Space on both sides of a kerb is a public good available for the enjoyment of all, but with the ever-growing number of kerbside delivery services increasing congestion on busy streets without making any payment for the space they use and the simultaneous decreasing revenue from parking permits, the lack of kerbside management is threatening to make the space a battle ground where everyone is a loser. New government policies on active travel and electrification of transport are unintentionally putting different user groups in direct competition for the same precious road space, with cyclists expecting clear lanes which may now be blocked by EVs hooked up to charge points or littered with e-scooters. It is the perfect time to debate on the issues, and work towards refreshed guidelines and regulations to empower councils to invest in solutions to satisfy all the disparate demands.

"The kerbside was left behind when urban environments were evolving and maturing as living spaces for people. It was assumed it was a space reserved for parking and maybe for walking without getting too close to the vehicles. But now, with the focus on decarbonisation and making cities more liveable, it presents a unique opportunity for change,” says Paul Campion, CEO of TRL. “With this project, we want to bring more voices into the conversation around the issues to help policy makers find a way forward. The longer we delay, the more problems we store up, and the more opportunities we miss,” he continues.

“Individually, the taskforce members are actively engaging with a wide range of interested parties to achieve real change. TRL hopes to accelerate that pace of change by highlighting the urgency and bringing together ideas for solutions. It’s not just about the council’s coffers. Currently, most of the collisions involving pedestrians and cyclists occur at the kerb and represent around 40% of the UK KSI numbers. The decisions we make about how we construct and manage our environment can have very serious consequences for each of us.

“One of the key barriers we are facing is the salience of the issue,” says Mark Corbin chair of the ADEPT National Traffic Managers Forum. “Kerbside management is not at the top of anyone’s agenda. The taskforce has identified a need for a decision to be made at the national level that local authorities can then implement. This will allow us to create updated and relevant regulation that keeps our kerbside safe and worthwhile to use. Once we have effective kerbside management practices, the pent up innovation within industry can be unleashed for the good of society.”

 

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