Self Explaining Roads (SER)
Te Ara Mua – Future Streets is based on SER approaches that have been successfully trialled in Auckland. This is not a design template for Te Ara Mua – Future Streets but rather evidence that will be used to help with the design process.
The Point England SER project in Auckland
Figure 1. Changes in road use following SER street changes
Between 2006 and 2010, a partnership between TERNZ, Waikato University, and Auckland City Council, planned, designed, constructed and evaluated an area-wide SER retrofit of urban local and collector roads in Point England, Auckland. A wide range of data were gathered to understand the existing road hierarchy, and the form and function of individual roads. A key problem was that there was very little distinction between the ‘look and feel’ of local and collector roads, which was causing speeding and rat-running on local streets, along with substantial variations in speeds on all roads.
The most functional elements of the existing network and the outlying problem areas were identified, and a SER template was developed for the area with the help of a significant public involvement process. The desired outcomes included 30 km/hr local roads, and distinctly different and recognisable local and collector roads.
Two distinct changes in road use have emerged following this SER construction. On local streets, mean speeds have dropped considerably to around 30 km/hr, while those on collector roads have remained at around 50 km/hr. The variation in speed on all treated roads is now much lower. Previous common speeds of 70 km/hr and higher are now almost non-existent. On local roads there is now less through traffic and more pedestrian movement. Video data reveals that pedestrians also appear to be to be less constrained, with vehicles often giving way to pedestrians. Residents now rate the ‘look and feel’ of their street more highly than they did prior to SER construction.
A key benefit of the Point England SER project is that it was delivered with comparable costs to traditional speed hump treatments, which are generally less effective and are less favoured by residents. Further development of the SER process and its practical implementation is likely to yield further savings and even better designs.