Understanding attitudes to priorities at side road junctions

Transportation Research
Publication date: 
January 2019

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Junctions are places of interaction and hence conflict for all road users. Two thirds of all collisions in built up areas occur at junctions, with pedestrians and cyclists being most at risk. The aim of the research is to investigate the attitudes to change, and likely behaviour at junctions, of all types of road users, were a general and unambiguous duty to ‘give way on turning’ to be introduced in the UK context. Q-methodology was used because it is good at capturing and describing divergent views and also consensus.

Q-mode factor analysis was used and revealed five groups with common perspectives, as follows: optimistic experienced drivers, pessimistic regular cyclists, realistic multi-modals, altruistic pedestrians and the pragmatic sustainably mobile. Differences between groups centred on which road user types should be the prime focus of junction improvements, the relative importance of safety and time saving, and the amount of effort required to implement change. There was a strong consensus between the groups that no level of injury and death at road junctions is acceptable, and that regulation changes should be made. Funding for awareness raising, and supporting any regulation change with concomi-tant design changes to the physical layout of junctions is also important.

There is a consistency of opinion across all groups of road users that the lack of alignment between design and regulation, and lack of compliance with the regulations are not acceptable. Each grouping of respondents thought that it is appropriate to make junctions safe for all, and more attractive and convenient for those that are currently the most at risk. There are practical changes that policy makers and practitioners could and should make. Changes in regulations could be undertaken, but it would need to be supported by the following: public awareness raising campaigns; infrastructure design changes; funding; and enforcement.