Traffic in the City: A New Design Approach for Urban Public Spaces
Paper Session 7B: The Built Environment and VRU Safety II
In the typical Dutch city, the bicycle and other light vehicles have been experiencing a boom in popularity. Naturally, this has brought some major advantages for the functioning of the city, but this phenomenon is simultaneously accompanied by new problems, such as a tremendous increase in the diversity of modes of transport, vague legislation, inadequate infrastructure, and therefore an increase in road safety risks for all. These issues require a fundamentally different approach to the designing of urban public space: a new design approach enabling us to respond in a more adequate manner to the changes of today and tomorrow. The ANWB, the Dutch traveler’s association, together with partners, initiated research into devising this new approach.
The objective of this study is to develop a generically applicable design methodology, with which the urban public space (including the traffic infrastructure) can be reconfigured, whilst simultaneously considering quality of life, safety, and accessibility demands and requirements.
Vision Zero: Everybody has the right to come home
The ever growing city and the needs of its citizens are challenged by the scarcity of our public resources and our duty to conceive and operate healthy, safe, inclusive, and joyful places to live, work and play. An urban planner tries to optimize land use; a traffic engineer tries to optimize delay; a landscape architect tries to optimize the aesthetics of a place; etc. Yet if each discipline tries to solve a problem independently from one another, our urban ecosystem will inevitably remain suboptimal. We must therefore defragment the discussion on the future of our cities to all work towards a common vision. Can Vision Zero be that common goal? What questions should we ask ourselves? How do we (re)organize?
The objective is to question the role of the street in the city. To encourage cross-disciplinary dialogue. To identify common opportunities and generate economies of scale. To showcase concrete initiatives from the Netherlands, where Sustainable Safety (also known as Vision Zero or Safe Systems) is the structural approach to organize, develop, implement, maintain and sustain an inherently safe traffic system.