Guest Blog: Positive results for the Left is Best Railway Path Trial

15 May, 2023

In 2022 Sustrans trialled an introduction of signs between Trinity Street and Clay Bottom on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path advising people to keep left, amongst other guidance. These ‘left is best’ measures were put in place to help everyone to share, respect and enjoy the iconic route. The results of the trial were positive and the signs proved to be a success.

The results of the trial were published on 3 May.

Why did Sustrans trial ‘left is best’?

In a survey of over 550 people in early 2021, Sustrans found that 72% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that in addition to the other core principles for the path, a ‘left is best’ principle for the Bristol and Bath Railway Path in Bristol would make it safer and more accessible.

Designing the signs

The design of the trial signs came from our collaboration with communities along the path during our One Path BS5 project.

Each sign shows artwork that reflects the messages contributed by pupils of Bannerman Road Community Academy and Fishponds Church of England Academy.

How people were using the route during the trial

Sustrans conducted an interaction analysis of how people used the route during the trial. Sustrans found an increase in the percentage of people keeping to the left while walking, jogging, and cycling. Across all modes of travel, there were no conflicts recorded where route users needed to suddenly manoeuvre or where any form of contact was made. The signs will be made permanent

The results of the survey concluded that the signs improve flow and reduce conflict. Along with improving how people feel when using the path. With this in mind, the signs are being installed as permanent features along the path. The key messages on the signs are:

  • left is best
  • leave space
  • go slow, enjoy the view
  • use your bell.

New directional, zone and information signage will also be installed in the area. You can find out more about the results of the trial here.


Amy Harrison

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