Public Realm Design Guide HVM

Safer spaces for all
Public Realm Design Guide HVM © Crown Copyright
In recent years, more terrorist attacks have occurred in the public realm, with some involving the use of vehicles. A significant number of these attacks have directly targeted people.

The design of the public realm is an important factor in protecting both people and assets by stopping or delaying attacks. Creating and taking design opportunities to make them safer will help.

Introducing Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) into the public realm is a significant challenge and must fulfil numerous requirements in order to integrate successfully, such as:

  • Aesthetics
  • Public Access
  • Traffic Management
  • Physical Constraints
  • Health & Safety
  • Cost
  • Maintenance

The guidance provides information and impetus to those responsible for integrating Hostile Vehicle Mitigation (HVM) into the public realm, in order to manage the threat from terrorist vehicle attacks. 

It is important that our surroundings remain open and inclusive, and that the addition of physical security measures designed to protect us are integrated and proportionate to the identified threat.

This design guide provides the design community with a background to HVM, how to include it in the project process, key aspects such as stakeholder engagement and risk management, and blending protection into sites. 

It has been designed to be used within the whole of the United Kingdom but does not exclude application in other countries.

The purpose of this guide is to assist the public realm design process and to encourage a positive and creative response to the challenges of counter-terrorism and protective security.

The design of the public realm must consider the application of HVM measures holistically, to ensure that the correct level of protection is provided without compromising the ability to create aesthetically pleasing and functional public spaces.

There is no “one size fits all” response to providing protection against hostile vehicles. Every place is unique and requires an informed and considered approach.
Led by the team at Realm, consultation within a focussed Steering Group of industry professionals has been used to gain insight, experience and ideas to inform the development of the guidance. The organisations shown below have endorsed this design guide:

  • Department for Transport
  • Mayor of London
  • National Counter Terrorism Security Office
  • Transport for London
  • Landscape Institute
  • Royal Institute of British Architects
  • Royal Town Planning Institute
  • British Property Federation
  • The Crown Estate

Public Realm Design Guide Hostile Vehicle Mitigation




Lead Consultant & Author Public Realm Design Guide


Landscape Institute Awards 2011 - Winner 'Landscape and Research' 
National Urban Design Awards 2023 - Finalist 'Policy, Strategy + Design Guidance'

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Photo Credits:

Jill Mead