In response to recent DfT instructions, the LI has published a consultation draft of a document on temporary highway infrastructure aimed at ensuring that proposals consider non-movement functions and are not over-engineered.

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On Saturday 9 May, the Department for Transport published ‘Reallocating road space in response to COVID-19: statutory guidance for local authorities‘. These instructions to highway authorities promote the reallocation of road-space to encourage walking and cycling. Their aim is to relieve pressure on roads and public transport, and to enable social distancing on pavements.

In response, the Landscape Institute’s Technical Committee has developed a draft technical guidance note, Seven Design Principles for temporary highway infrastructure, for consultation. We are keen to get further input to these draft principles from members and fellow professional bodies.

The aesthetic of the street influences how drivers, cyclists and pedestrians behave in that street. This in turn can have a dramatic effect on speeding, traffic collisions, and the severity of injuries. Streets have many functions other than movement; high streets are trying to open safely to support economic recovery. Space will be needed for people to queue, and cafes and shops may trade out-of-doors to reduce virus transmission risks. Many people will have to walk further and stand in queues. Increased seating provision will make journeys possible for large numbers of people that would not otherwise be able to remain independent.

Landscape architects have a primary role in the design of our public realm and that includes streets and spaces in urban areas. The aims of the Seven Design Principles are to:

  • ensure proposals consider non-movement functions; and
  • help members challenge potential over-engineering, which may be an inefficient use of resources and can incite bad driving behaviour

The guidance note has initially been drafted for England, but we are of course keen to make it relevant to all regions of the UK; so would in particular welcome input from experts and regulators in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We would also be keen to hear from anybody willing to endorse the final publication.

The consultation draft of Seven Design Principles for pop-up highway infrastructure is available here. Please forward any comments to by Sunday 31 May 2020.


  1. Hi All,
    It’s fantastic to know that the LI is thinking ahead in this crisis for a post COVID-19 landscape. I have read the principles and they cover a lot of pertinent ground – so well done all involved. I have a couple of comments that if think should be brought out in the the final document if it is ok to share:
    1. The temporary plans should have an objective to become permanent where feasible – so designs for temporary interventions should also aim to be reinforced into permanent measures and interventions
    2. That temporary design interventions should initially be an iterative process – whilst temporary they can be adaptive – therefore able to alter to better solutions if needed- then become permanent
    2. For measures to link into existing plans where feasible – again with an eye on permanent solutions
    3. To bring out the need for multi functional solutions ie. to look at a future GI integrations including tree pits, rain gardens and SuDS. In doing so these temporary measure can remain to deliver many more benefits on air and SW pollution, surface water management, biodiversity and aesthetics

    I hope these comments are constructive and helpful.

    Suzanne Simmons


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