Streets, junctions and roundabouts

The layout of a street, junction or roundabout affects how much space it takes, what it looks like and how it works.

Streets, junctions and roundabouts are not just for allowing traffic to move from one place to another, they are integral parts of places. Their layout is as important to the character and utility of a place as the layout of individual blocks and buildings. Of course the layout of transport infrastructure is also a critical consideration when looking at uses, overall urban structure and so on, but should be bourne in mind when looking at the layout of any development.

The following examples give a taste of the issues to consider, you can find out more about movement structure and highways in other parts of the learning space.

The layout of Kensington High Street allows space to provide a number of different functions, the layout of this street has been changed over recent years and has had a large impact on how people use the street, specifically promoting pedestrian and cycling access to what was previously a busy through road for cars, vans and lorries.

Kensington High Street
Here we can see the wide central refuge which:
  • reduces carriageway width, so helping to slow down traffic
  • provides space for bike parking and space for new trees
  • provides a safe break and rest point for people crossing the road.

This plan shows the layout of two new houses on a plot that used to hold one. It may seem simple at first glance, but there are a lot of important layout issues being proposed here.

Plan to show the arrangement of houses on plots
Both houses face the road (not always the case with infill development). One is set back a little further than the other – helping to link with the position of neighbouring houses.

Notice how house number five is at a different angle to the road, but the two proposed houses remain roughly parallel with it. This is a layout decision.

The access drives have been placed at the outer ends of the site, so there is a larger joint area of front garden between them. This might help overcome objections to the amount of off street drive and parking being proposed (notice the garage for plot one right at the end of the back garden?). But do you really believe this will happen?

Look at these three roundabout layouts, each would create very different places. Each type can cope with different types of use, from very large traffic volumes moving at speed to infrequent vehicle use but an easier environment for pedestrians and cyclists. A balance between the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles needs to be reached.

Mini roundaboutLarge roundabout Mini roundabout

Last modified: Wednesday, 15 April 2015, 11:20 AM