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Planners need skills boost

I agree that highway engineers need training in shared-space urban design, as suggested by Hans Monderman (NCE 15 November).

Equally, however, urban planners should learn the skills of highway engineers to help them understand the influence of their proposals on road safety.

Wholesale removal of signs, road markings, and traffic controls to create "naked streets" is irresponsible without knowledge of the effects of each measure individually. Otherwise, the beneficial effect of one measure can mask the harmful effect of another.

Pedestrian guardrails, for example, are being discarded as just another bit of superfluous street furniture, despite evidence from engineering studies that they radically reduce casualties.

I would refer planners to my paper A Clearer Vision for Pedestrian Guardrails in the August 2007 issue of Civil Engineering.

DR DOUGLAS L STEWART, AIP consultant, d.l.stewart@ btopenworld.com

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