UWE Bristol helps residents to voice their traffic concerns

Issue date: 18 March 2014

A young man in shorts and t-shirt walks across a zebra crossing.

James Coleman, a Research Associate at UWE Bristol, has launched a new website, run by Bristol City Council, that gives local residents the information needed to actively engage in the management of traffic and road safety in their neighbourhood.

Traffic Choices informs residents about different local traffic schemes and how effective they are. The website contains videos, presented by James, that breakdown and explain the measures that are open for public discussion and implementation, which residents can then take forward to Neighbourhood Partnership forums.

James says, “To improve community wellbeing and safety, every year money is given to Bristol's Neighbourhood Partnerships for traffic schemes. We want residents to be able to have a say in which scheme may be most effective in making local roads safer by taking a look at the traffic management options available to their area and then discussing the possibilities at a Neighbourhood Partnership forum.We can't expect everyone to be an expert on road safety, so the website provides a useful shortcut to information which matters the most. We're expanding the website this year, in part due to demand from Bristol residents during our feedback sessions, and we hope in the future it will be used in other local authorities across the UK.”

This year Neighbourhood Partnerships will receive between £30,000 and £46,000 to improve local road safety. Problems and solutions raised and suggested at the Partnership forums will be taken forward by their Transport Subgroup, who will meet with Highway Engineers before a decision is made by local councillors.

The website is the direct result of research carried out at UWE Bristol as part of the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP). Dr Paul Pilkington and Dr Adrian Davis, Public Health researchers at the University, bid successfully for KTP funding in order to create a resource that would facilitate an evidence based approach to identifying effective small-scale traffic management schemes. As a result James, who gained an MSc in Transport Planning at the University of Leeds, was employed as the KTP Associate, the website was developed and is now available for use by the residents of Bristol.

Paul Pilkington says, “It's fantastic that local communities in Bristol have the power to make their streets safer and healthier. We wanted to help communities to make those important decisions, by providing them with an easy to use, evidence-based resource. In public health we aim to empower communities to improve their health and wellbeing, and the Traffic Choices website has the potential to do just that. We feel that the resource has great potential to be used elsewhere, and there has already been interest from around the country. The overall approach could also be applied to other public health issues where community decision making could be strengthened through the availability of evidence of what works.”

Visit www.trafficchoices.co.uk for more information.

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