The design vision was to reinforce the public realm associated with Ashfield 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 traffic signal control and associated clutter. The design was developed following an 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 3.5m wide 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 evening 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 of an easily maintainable palette of materials
“…there is clear evidence that it has changed the behaviour of drivers for the better, reduced vehicle speeds and improved road and pedestrian safety.”
- Councillor Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Sustainability, and Transport – March 2015.
“Ashfield Land 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.”
- Client – March 2015
“This is undoubtedly the best bit of Swindon.”
- Nationwide Office Manager (overlooking the site) – February 2015
“The scheme goes from strength to strength in my view…”
- SBC Highways Service Manager – May 2016