On 20 October 2011 The Department for Transport published Local Transport Note 01/11 on Shared Space.
The research base (reviewed at the UDG National Conference on Urban Design by Stuart Reid of MVA) shows that sharing is not to do with eye-contact, but is down to a decision by the motorist whether to share; Motorists are more likely to share at slower speeds. Their willingness to share decreases steadily up till a speed of around 17 mph after which the decline steepens. The research also found that the appearance of a street strongly influenced drivers’ speed choice and willingness to share.
While Manual for Streets refers to carriageway width and forward visibility as being key factors in influencing speed, the research base TRL 661 found that these factors only accounted for around 20 percent of the variation in drivers’ speeds. The two pieces of research underline the importance of design quality in creating a street environment that looks like a place for people rather than a piece of trunk road infrastructure.