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Cities rush to copy signless road scheme

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COUNCILS ACROSS the UK were this week queuing up to follow plans to strip one of London's most famous roads of traffic lights, road barriers and markings.

The measure, known as 'shared space', is intended to make streets safer by restricting the speed limit to 20 mph and forcing drivers to be more aware of pedestrians.

It is to be pioneered on Exhibition Road in Kensington, the site of major tourist attractions like the Science Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Natural History Museum.

Now other 'shared space' schemes are planned for Ipswich town centre and a new development of 3,500 homes near Exeter as well as in Bath, Hereford and Edinburgh.

Consultant Ben Hamilton-Baillie, who has worked on the Exhibition Road scheme, said there were clear signs that the radical measure, which has been shown to work in the Netherlands, was set to take off in the UK.

'It is gathering momentum in the UK, critically because in countries where it has been applied more comprehensively there are clear improvements in traffic flow, road safety and air quality.' Hamilton-Baillie added that many other highway authorities were considering shared space schemes. He said he hoped they would be encouraged by the Department for Transport's decision to include the concept in its forthcoming Manual for Streets.

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