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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 066 - Overcoming barriers to street improvements

066 - Kensington High Street, London

Kensington High Street has undergone a major transformation in order to improve its image and provide a safer, more attractive environment for pedestrians. Improvements which have been made include:

  • Reduction of street clutter by mounting traffic signals and signage on lamp columns
  • Removal of guardrails and bollards
  • Removal of staggered crossings
  • Removal of traffic islands
  • Introduction of dropped kerbs
  • Reduction in the number of surface materials

Initially there was significant opposition to these changes and the Stage 1 Safety Audit brought attention to a number of safety issues. For example, the proposed removal of the guard-railings and the absence of longitudinal and hatched centre markings did not accord with Department for Transport design guidance.To address these issues an evidence-based method was applied during the first phase of the scheme.

During this phase the impact of the changes on the behaviour of pedestrians was carefully monitored using on-site observations, CCTV and representatives from disabled and walking groups. Monitoring also included the use of records of personal injury collisions collated by Transport for London.

The initial results showed that such innovative change together with detailed design and risk assessment could be achieved without negative impact. The changes were therefore retained and the remaining phases built over a period of three years. The street improvements have not only improved the quality of streetscape but since the changes were introduced pedestrian accidents in the affected area have been reduced by more than 40%.

Other Information


UDC2 Section - From Vision to Reality 

Reduction in street clutter and removal of barriers has resulted in an improved streetscape and a reduction in pedestrian accidents by 40%.Images (image bank)