Tactical Urbanism Trials


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Location: India / Type: Infrastructure / Streets / Built: 2023 /
Show on Google Maps / Published on May 14, 2024

Saving Lives Through Tactical Urbanism

Every year, approximately 150,000 people die on India’s roads, which translates to an average of 1,130 accidents and 422 deaths every day. With an objective of reducing the number of deaths on Indian roads, the SaveLIFE Foundation has launched a ‘Tactical Urbanism Trials project’. StudioPOD collaborated as the design lead in this endeavour, which focused on re-designing intersections to make them safer for all users, carrying out month-long trials of the design using cones, paint and temporary signage and based on the findings of the trials preparing plans for the permanent implementation of the trials.

Seven intersections spread across the Indian cities of Pune, Delhi and Bengaluru were identified as ‘black spots’ that witness a significant number of accidents. To gain an understanding of the cause of pedestrian and vehicle conflicts and identify issues with the intersection design that was resulting in the intersection being unsafe, cameras were set up on all arms of the intersection which recorded videos of pedestrian and vehicular movement for 2-3 days. Site visits were carried out by our team of experts and interviews with pedestrians and vehicle users were carried out to further our understanding of the issues being faced.

From the analysis of videos and interviews the following issues were identified as the primary reasons for the intersections being unsafe:

– The speed of the vehicles approaching the junction along the highway is high and there is significant pedestrian crossing volume and vehicle turning movements.

– The pedestrian infrastructure consisting of zebra crossings, footpaths and pedestrian refuges at crossings are inadequate.

– The turning radius at turning and U-turn locations is large, encouraging vehicles to turn at higher speeds.

To address these issues, design solutions for making the junction safer for all users were developed. The designs focused on employing short-term, low-cost interventions that would make vehicles travel slower, increase public realm & improve pedestrian crossing facilities, thereby inducing change in user behavior to enhance safety for all.

The first step in the analysis of the data was to determine the minimum width of footpath required on all arms of these intersections and ideal location for the pedestrian crossings. Simultaneously, the vehicle volumes & mode split were extracted from the video footage and the required lane widths were determined.

Next the bus stop, taxi and private vehicle pick up/drop off locations were mapped. Based on the analysis carried out above a conceptual ideal intersection design was developed.

A highly collaborative design process was applied, and all interventions were discussed with the various stakeholders including government officials, traffic police operating at the intersection and users. Inputs from these discussions were collated and the design updated to reflect the views and opinions of the users.

To implement the designs for tactical urbanism trials, detailed drawings, implementation plans, and cost estimates were developed. The designs identified the creation of new and widened footpaths which would be demarcated by paint markings and separated from the vehicular carriageway by traffic cones and bollards.

As in most instances, public realm was reclaimed, the footpaths were widened and new pedestrian refuges created in the median, the painting of these reclaimed areas helped identify the space and act as a visual deterrent to vehicles from infringing the new public realm.

To reduce the speed of turning vehicles, road geometry correction was applied, by reducing the turning radius to make the turn sharper; thereby forcing vehicles to slow down; further the lane widths closer to the intersection were narrowed to further induce a reduction in speed.

Once the trials were executed on site, post implementation surveys and analysis pointed towards a significant impact on the safety of pedestrians crossing the road as the critical gap pedestrians would experience and public realm increased across all intersections.

Project Data

Designer: StudioPOD

Clients: SaveLIFE Foundation

Other Offices Involved:
Transportation Planning/ Urban Design Lead: StudioPOD
Traffic Surveys: Sustainancy Consultants Pvt Ltd
Topographic Surveys: Dronitech

Photo Courtesy: SaveLIFE Foundation

Project Location: Karla Phata, India and Multiple Locations for other projects

Design and Trial year: 2020 – 2023.

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