St. Helier, Jersey. Credit: Alagz; St. Helier, Jersey. Credit: Alagz;

Public Realm and Movement Strategy for St. Helier, Jersey, Jersey

How can we reduce carbon emissions through smart street design?

The Government of Jersey (GoJ) has set a bold ambition to have a fully sustainable transport system by 2030. With transport accounting for 44% of Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions, there is an urgent need for action to transform the way people travel on the island.

Arup has supported the development of a Public Realm and Movement Strategy (PRMS) for St Helier, Jersey’s capital. It combines the ambitions of the government with tangible outcomes for a healthy streetscape, delivered over the next 10 years.

Historically, car use has been prioritised in the design and function of streets at the expense of the public realm. However, improvements have been delivered in isolation without a coordinated strategy.

The strategy provides a framework for the planning, design management, and development of St Helier’s public realm, which comprises its network of roads and streets. It takes a holistic approach to support a behavioural shift towards sustainable modes by looking at how people move around the streets and how we can better integrate transport services and methods to make journeys more seamless.

The size of St Helier provides an opportunity to deliver a much-needed change in priority from private vehicles to active and sustainable transport modes – along with the early adoption of alternative fuels and technologies.

Project Summary

218 street segments assessed

4key delivery concepts

A digital approach to street design

Streets will play a significant role in paving the way to a greener future. Understanding their role, function and interaction in our daily lives is crucial, especially when there is a need to fundamentally change travel behaviours. We conducted our study during the Covid-19 pandemic, which required us to take a digital-first approach to capture the complex characteristics of streets without compromising the accuracy and quality of the data.

We categorised all streets within St. Helier using bespoke street typologies and undertook comprehensive desk-based street appraisals of more than 200 street segments, involving virtual street surveys, data analysis and stakeholder engagement.

We validated this data with uMove, our data-driven toolkit that provides smart insights into pedestrian mobility and travel demand in cities and public realms around the world. Using this toolkit, we analysed every street segment within St. Helier to understand where pedestrian activity is at its highest, where improvements can be made and which road configurations encourage walking to help meet GoJ’s decarbonisation goals.

The team’s ability to be able to respond to the project’s particular challenges at a time when travel, site access, and engagement was constrained as a result of the pandemic, was very innovative and responsive. ” Kevin Piley Head of Place and Spatial Planning, Government of Jersey

Creating a sustainable strategy

Published in April 2021, our strategy identifies proposals to stimulate transformative change in movement patterns in Jersey, starting from its capital, based on the findings of our analysis. The series of recommendations support the re-prioritisation of space, greening opportunities, and increased connectivity for pedestrians and cyclists by embedding an active travel network through new and improved walking and cycling infrastructure.

© Chris Lawrence Travel

The proposals are supported by a flexible toolkit of hard infrastructure and management measures, including widened pavements, new crossings and traffic calming measures, facilitating a localised approach to implementation. 

Our vision will set the guiding principles of what success should look like while advising on interventions to implement based on the following five key concepts: 

  • Liveability and inclusivity

  • History, culture and local character 

  • Health and wellness

  • Greenery, biodiversity and environmental quality and

  • The local economy.

The strategy seeks to inform a new plan for the town which will embody these concepts, while setting the standard for measuring and guiding all schemes and places implemented in the future.

Learn more about how we are helping to decarbonise transport.