This study evaluated the traffic and travel impacts of a trial pedestrianisation scheme in Taunton town centre. The scope of the scheme, and the research project, were both scaled back. The only road to be closed during the trial was a short section of St James Street, a one-way side street leading from Taunton’s main shopping street.
The closure did not cause any measurable change in travel behaviour in the streets most directly affected by the closure. Drivers living in that area simply changed their travel routes, driving up to 0.8 miles further in some cases. When considered alongside previous studies, this suggests that small-scale road closure schemes are likely to cause much displacement of traffic, and little if any traffic reduction or modal shift. To achieve those objectives, road closure schemes need to be implemented over a wider area.
A clear majority of the local residents approved of the Council’s decision to pedestrianise the street.
Melia, S., & Calvert, T. (2020). Disappearing Traffic? An Evaluation of Pedestrianisation in Taunton Town Centre. Bristol: West Somerset and Taunton Council, Rees Jeffreys Road Fund