Norwich - Prince of Wales Road

Region: East of England

Local Authority: Norwich

Funding Body: DFT

Year of Intervention: 2004 - 2007

Summary: Pedestrian guardrails have been used extensively since the 1940s, as part of the ongoing attempt to reduce conflict between pedestrians and vehicles in town centres. It has been especially favoured on the approaches to pedestrian crossings, and on signal controlled junctions where the pedestrian desire line was different to the safe controlled route. This segregation of pedestrians has resulted in higher vehicle speeds in some town and city centres, as drivers perceive a reduced risk of conflict with pedestrians, and feel more secure in their environment. However the barriers can be extremely unsightly in sensitive environments and can seriously disfigure and clutter the view of historic streets especially. In addition, they can do as much to trap pedestrians on the carriageway as to deter them from crossing.

Description: Norwich City Council implemented the Norwich Mixed Priority Routes Scheme along Prince of Wales Road, which provides a successful example of removing guardrails at crossings.

This scheme included several challenges, ranging from diverse land uses to high levels of crime and accidents.

The main objectives of the scheme were to:

  • Reduce the number of accidents in the first year after completion
  • Contribute to the Crime and Disorder Objectives
  • Improve the overall quality of the townscape
  • Make the street easier to maintain

To achieve this, the scheme implemented the following measures to create pedestrian bias;

  1. Use of Puffin traffic signals that combine with other measures such as surface treatments and road narrowing, which manage speeds to 20mph.The traffic signals are designed to rest on red for vehicles and pedestrians at off-peak times. This allows for a quick response to be given to pedestrians and helps maintain reduced vehicle speeds between crossings
  2. Removal of the central island and carriageway narrowing
  3. Widening of pavements and crossing points
  4. Designing without guardrail
  5. Paving private forecourt areas to unify the street
  6. A simple palette of materials
  7. New modern street furniture and lighting scheme
  8. New tree planting
  9. Speed management strategy.



Monitoring of the scheme continued for 3 years after completion to establish how successful it has been.  Before implementation 69 accidents were recorded over a 3 year period from 1998-2001, of these 44 involved pedestrians. From completion of the work in July 2004 up to January 2007, there were just 18 accidents, of these 7 involved pedestrians. Calculating on a pro-rata basis this equates to just 21 accidents over the 3 year period.

  • Before: crossing Points had guardrails that restricted where pedestrians could cross.
  • After: Crossings were redesigned and guardrails removed to free up pedestrian movement.  The number of signal post has increased due to the requirements of Puffin signals


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