In practice many placemaking projects involve public spaces that are also near or part of a road. It is essential to consider traffic, both vehicular (including cycles) and various categories of pedestrians – people with disabilities and children.
Every road, street or lane forms part of a road network organized into a hierarchy of practical purposes that provide a wider area with essential communication. Some adjustments to the network are easier to achieve than others.
Roads are sometime considered as pipes, though allowing for the flow of traffic rather than water. The flows and capacity of traffic in relation to a road can be measured so that any adjustments to a road’s nature can be anticipated and dealt with.
The relationship between road safety and vehicle speed is key because where traffic cannot be removed, lower traffic speeds may be an acceptable alternative.
Road junctions are often critical as this is where vehicle paths cross, causing possible danger, delays and congestion.
Some vehicles are difficult to maneuver so need more space and drivers need to be able to see adequately at corners so the type of vehicles that are likely to use a road will affect the required layout or geometry of the road.
The simple act of crossing the road can be fraught or a pleasant experience adding to the amenity of a place. The wide range of forms available for a courtesy crossing allows designers to fit them seamlessly into their local public realm context.
Roads and traffic are governed by legislation and rules on what can and cannot be done to a road.