Design and planning of pedestrian environment and public realm

This tool provides examples of guidance and methods to assist promoters and design teams in developing solutions to deliver a higher quality pedestrian experience at their interchange. The public space plays a key role in helping to enhance the environment, both within and surrounding public transport interchanges. It assists with creating a greater sense of place and improving the legibility of routes that pedestrians move along and the spaces they connect to.

To assist in the design and planning of the pedestrian environment and public realm, a number of guidance documents are available, including the following:

  1. Pedestrian Environment Review System (PERS) – Co-developed in partnership with Transport for London, PERS is a dynamic software application for assessing the quality of any pedestrian environment. It can assist in the identification of opportunities to improve pedestrian walking routes and public spaces, whilst supporting the effective targeting of resources.
  2. Pedestrian Comfort Guidance (PCG) – is a tool that measures the capacity of pedestrian spaces, such as pavements and footpaths, for the number of pedestrians who use them.
  3. Data collection Techniques for Measuring Pedestrian Activity
  4. Reducing Sign Clutter (Advisory Leaflet) – Traffic sign clutter often occurs over time when additional signing is provided without consideration of any existing signage. It can also occur where information to road users is unnecessary or excessively signed. Good sign design can prevent clutter happening in the first place, and integration of signing requirements into the design stage of a scheme can help ensure the number of signs is kept to the minimum needed without compromising on the messages they need to deliver. Careful design of the signs themselves can also help to avoid clutter by reducing their size and by combining signs onto fewer separate structures.
  5. Urban Design Compendium Design – Guidance relating to good practice urban design – Urban Design Compendium 1 (some content can be applied in terms of principles to influence interchange design)
  6. Building Orientation Guidance to assist with maximising natural light, sun and solar gain in the orientation of building design

Shared Space (Advisory Leaflet)

NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration ++
Enhance intermodality +
Enhance liveability ++
Increase safety and security conditions +
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency ++
Stimulate local economy ++
Increase environmental efficiency 0
Increase energy efficiency 0

Good practice

Reading Station Interchange redevelopment (NODES demonstration site) has tested this tool, which has influenced in part the way pedestrian and vehicular movement is managed in the vicinity of the station and has also had an influence in prompting a bus network review to ensure the best solution is delivered at the interchange.

In reviewing this tool Reading Borough Council stated “The extensive work at Reading both adjacent to Reading Station and on the streets leading to and from it, has shown that it is possible to greatly improve facilities for pedestrians without blocking the transport arteries of a city. In Reading a balance has had to be found between extra spaces for pedestrians – mostly provided in the new forecourts, and the need for reasonable bus access and the flow of buses and other essential vehicles to the town centre.”

The ‘Walking Good Practice’ document makes reference to areas in London, UK where some of the guides / software, e.g. PERS have been used.

It is generally acknowledged as is illustrated in the NODES ‘State of the Art’ and the urban design compendium that areas with good public realm and pedestrian environments encourage growth and regeneration as well as improving legibility, wayfinding and sense of place. Liverpool Lime Street (before image) (after image) is a good example of how improvements to the public space assist in enhancing the setting of the station, creating a greater sense of place an improved gateway to Liverpool and increased legibility along pedestrian routes.

Potential interchange performance improvement

  • Improved legibility of pedestrian routes
  • Creates ease of movement through a removal of unnecessary clutter thus removing obstacles
  • Creates a sense of place and identity within the different zones



Most of the references are readily available and provide guidance that is relatively easy to understand for the appropriate experts and professionals within the design team.

Some references are examples of software that has been developed by TfL, which will require some liaison with them to fully understand how it works and whether it can be adapted for use in other areas.


  • Pedestrian Environment Review System (PERS) Link
  • Pedestrian Comfort Guidance (PCG) Link
  • Data collection Techniques for Measuring Pedestrian Activity Link
  • Reducing Sign Clutter (Advisory Leaflet) Link
  • Urban Design Compendium  (Website) Link (Guidance) Link
  • Building Orientation Guidance and Link
  • Shared Space (Advisory Leaflet) Link