VRU Friendly Superblocks
Safety could be improved for Vulnerable Road Users (VRU), while boosting neighbourhood communities, by creating residential area ‘Superblocks’. Pioneered in cities like Barcelona, a Superblock covers several neighbourhood blocks and is reserved for shared use by cyclists, walkers and local residents. Superblocks allow low-speed access for residents’ cars, but exclude through-traffic.
Superblocks can be retrofitted to existing suburbs to create safer, quieter and more play-friendly streets. They are typically about a square kilometre in area, bounded by main roads and features such as rivers. Ideally, superblocks are clustered together to provide safe access to local amenities, local schools, and public transport hubs.
Everyone can still drive to their home in a superblock, but they might have to take a slightly longer route. This can reduce traffic by nudging residents to walk and cycle short journeys within their superblock, encouraging physical activity. Increasing neighbourhood liveability can also reduce air/noise pollution and boost house prices.
Various measures can create Superblocks, such as:
- Pocket Parks – small sections of street converted to green space;
- Modal Filters – bollards, gates or planters exclude cars but allow access for walkers and cyclists;
- End-Of-Street – open cul-de-sacs to walkers and cyclists;
- Bus Gates – automatic numberplate recognition or rising bollards allow bus access;
- Banned Turns;
- One-way Streets.
The resulting superblocks can create enhanced community spaces where vulnerable road users are empowered to use the streets, which are quiet and easy to cross.
For more information, see: