After nearly 16 months of lifestyle restrictions as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, on the 19th of July 2021, the large majority of remaining restrictions in England were removed. Only a few remain, currently centring around travel abroad.
It was great to have the opportunity to take part in the Future of Roads Event run by New Civil Engineer on Thursday 1st of July 2021. The event provided a platform for sector leaders to explore plans for the future of the industry, keeping in mind the challenges presented by Climate Change, net zero targets, Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. Sessions were presented by individuals from the Department for Transport, CIHT, TfL, Highways England, The Highways Sector Council and more.
Orcas and Armadillos are both common light segregation methods used as cycle lane delineators in the UK. The official use of light protection schemes in the UK was launched in 2013, with Orcas and other delineators now a common sight as the UK’s cycle network expands. While they are designed to protect cyclists by providing a physical buffer preventing vehicles from entering cycle lanes, many believe that these devices cause more harm than good. Reports have highlighted concerns over the devices destabilising motorcyclists, creating trip hazards for pedestrians, and even cyclists are at risk when low-level devices are damaged by vehicles leaving parts strewn on the road.
A guide to reallocating road space in response to Covid-19 was published by the Department for Transport on 12th January 2021 and applies to all highway authorities in England. It is additional to the guidance in the Traffic Management Act (2004) and replaces the guidance published on 9th May 2020 and 23rd May 2020. The government now expects local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians, which will help embed the altered behaviours that have come as a result of the pandemic, and also demonstrate the positive effects of active travel. A summary of the updated guidance is therefore provided below, and useful links are provided at the end.
Early in November 2020, one of our Senior Transport Planners, George Stow, began volunteering at a School Streets scheme near his home in Hove. School Streets schemes close the road outside a school at the beginning and end of the school day, lowering air pollution, reducing the risk of traffic incidents, promoting social distancing during the COVID pandemic, and contributing to a positive community setting. George provides an article on his hands-on experience of the scheme below, detailing the positive impact he has seen it make, and the challenges involved with setting up these schemes.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, UK supermarkets have made huge changes to the operation of their delivery services. As huge numbers of people limited the number of trips they made out of the house, supermarkets saw a surge in online ordering requiring a huge and rapid scaling of their delivery services. Consequently, the online shopping sector is set to grow 33% in 2020, reaching an estimated value of £16.8 billion.
Pavement parking has long been a contentious and antagonistic issue. While banned in Greater London besides a few exemptions, it is legal - although advised against - in the rest of the UK. Now, as part of the post-Covid-19 recovery involves encouraging more people to choose active travel, the problem is once again being looked at by the government.