Shared space

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Sign of a shared space area with the logos of the partners of the EU project

Shared Space [ ʃɛə (ɹ) d spɛɪ̯s ] ( German : "common space") describes a planning philosophy according to which the public street space dominated by motor vehicle traffic should be made more livable, safer and the flow of traffic improved. Characteristic is the idea of ​​doing without traffic signs, signal systems and lane markings. At the same time, road users should be given full equality, whereby the right of way rule continues to apply. In contrast to conventional traffic calming, it should also be possible to use it in main roads.

Traffic sign "Wohnstrasse" (Switzerland 3.11, until 2001)

The planning model was developed by the Dutchman Hans Monderman in the 1990s and is used worldwide today . At the same time, developments in traffic calming in Switzerland, Belgium, France and Austria led to the introduction of the pedestrian zone , the residential street and the meeting zone, which pedestrians prefer, under road traffic law , and in Germany since the 1980s to the traffic-calmed area , which is limited to residential areas.

From 2004 to 2008, Shared Space was implemented on a test basis within the framework of the infrastructure funding program Interreg North Sea Region Program of the European Union in cities and municipalities in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, England and the Netherlands. The term shared space goes back to the British transport planner Ben Hamilton-Baillie. The Anglizismus encounters in Germany sometimes criticized what the Hamburger Abendblatt took the occasion to carry out a design competition for the establishment of a suitable German term. The term community street is now used as a synonym.

Schönebeck market square (Elbe), the first shared space in Saxony-Anhalt
New Road in Brighton
Tübinger Strasse in Stuttgart

History of traffic models

Mixed principle despite segregation in 19th century Berlin

When the streets in the cities were increasingly paved in the 17th century , the street cross-sections were given the first sidewalks so that the bourgeoisie in particular did not have to walk in the dirt of the gutters . The so-called citizen was sidewalk but particularly in fine weather only an alternative to the paved road space so that despite traffic and transport segregation continues the mix principle was. The growth of cities in Prussia, for example, as a result of the manufacturing system introduced in the late 17th century and later the economic boom in the course of the industrial revolution during the 19th century made traffic bottlenecks clear, so that the first traffic regulations were sought.

In 1868 the first pedestrian ford was regulated by traffic lights and in 1905 Eugène Hénard published proposals for regulating the traffic on Place de l'Opéra in Paris, which provided for a roundabout in which pedestrians were strictly separated from horse- drawn vehicles by underpasses . After the idea of ​​segregation was manifested by the Charter of Athens in 1933 under the leadership of Le Corbusier , a mixture of traffic after the Second World War  - based on an almost completely destroyed transport infrastructure - was seen as a hindrance to the economic development of the cities. In the western-oriented countries, the focus was now on commuter and commercial traffic as the supporting pillars of the economy. The aim was an optimal traffic network with main roads for high-speed traffic and secondary roads for feeder and slow traffic. A subordination of weaker, non-motorized road users should be made clear by measures such as pedestrian crossings or barriers.

Principle of the car-friendly city in Leipzig: separate, low-conflict traffic areas for motorized road users in a spacious traffic area

With the exception of the USA, a consistent implementation of these models did not take place until 1956, when the German Association of Cities made the "traffic crisis in the cities" obvious. In view of the increasing individual motorization , there was not enough traffic space. With the City Council in 1960, the model of segregation finally became a paradigm ; the term “car- friendly city ” came up. Now the traffic area for motorized traffic participants has been enlarged disproportionately compared to other types of traffic and pedestrians have been displaced through tunnels or overpasses to other spatial levels.

In the 1970s, doubts arose about the unbridled growth of the economy for a variety of reasons. In the perception, the existing traffic systems had an increasingly negative impact on the cityscape and created an ecological awareness with regard to pollutant emissions, noise pollution and odor nuisance. In addition, a new quality of commuter behavior emerged in the course of urbanization , which further strained the traffic routes . The 1973 oil crisis caused recession around the world, so new investments in the transport sector were viewed with skepticism. After the study The Limits to Growth of the Club of Rome in 1972, political and planning consciousness changed. Showing the finite nature of natural resources popularized terms such as “ sustainability ” and “ environmental compatibility ”, which gave public transport a new impetus. During this time the concept of traffic-calmed areas was discussed for the first time .

At the beginning of the 1980s it was recognized that the separation of traffic would not reduce the number of traffic accidents , but increase it. Progressive planners argued that the integration of non-motorized and public transport would counteract this. With the beginning of reurbanization of the inner cities , street spaces were redesigned, whereby the streets were to be integrated into their surroundings to improve the quality of life . In the Netherlands , these approaches were further developed a little later into the idea of shared space .

Theoretical approach of the shared space

About signage can overstimulation lead
Shared space in Haren , the Netherlands: no traffic signs, leveled roads and only “boundaries” for road users

Guiding principle

Shared Space provides for the public space upgrade for humans. The basic idea is that the traffic area is overregulated. This is shown by excessive signage and is in part not caused by traffic, but due to legal requirements. Instead of a dominant position of motorized traffic, all traffic should bein balancewith social life and the culture and history of the area. By removing the canal effect of the streets, the places should regain personality. Road users and uses should exist side by side on an equal footing and share space. In addition to the quality of life, traffic safety should also be improved.

To achieve these goals, waived shared space on curbs and accruals and sets instead of road space on an orienting subdivision. In the course of a “deregulation” of the traffic landscape, no traffic lights or traffic and information signs are provided. The road traffic regulations are reduced to "mutual consideration" and the right-before-left rule. With these measures, a deliberate uncertainty is generated, which forces the road users to assess the space depending on the situation through eye contact with other road users. At the same time, the existence of a traffic network dominated by motorized traffic is considered necessary.

Goal and psychological consequences

The focus of the shared space efforts is the restructuring of the public space. It is assumed that spatial suggestions appeal to people more than prohibitions. By dissolving the clearly defined subdivision of the traffic area, a new feeling of space should arise that takes various urban planning aspects into account.

This also opens up new opportunities for interpersonal relationships. The newly created space offers space for cafés , invites you to stroll and is an attractive shopping environment for retailers . The street becomes the meeting point; life is partly shifting to the streets. There are also opportunities to redesign the space culturally. The extensive traffic facilities invite you to celebrate; Street musicians end their niche existence in pedestrian zones . Places are given the opportunity to get closer to their own history and to undo trade-offs imposed by traffic. This creates an identity for the places, which are increasingly anonymized due to the canal effect and dominance of the streets and the traffic systems such as traffic lights or signs. In the course of a redesign, the original townscape can be restored by means of lines of sight to important buildings, the use of suitable road paving or the weakening of traffic fragmentation effects . Shared space aims to ensure that non-local road users become part of the local social and cultural fabric and are invited to linger. It is assumed that someone who lingers behaves more social than someone who is just passing through.

Differences between traffic behavior and social behavior
Retention behavior Social traffic behavior Technical and legal traffic behavior
Behavioral traits Pluriform and pluralistic Pluralistic uniform
Type of movement Arbitrarily Mainly targeted Very purposeful
Reasonable pace <30 km / h <60 km / h > 50 km / h
Predictability of behavior Mostly unpredictable Predictable to a limited extent Mostly predictable
Eye contact Often Limited Barely
Behavioral factors People and environment People (and surroundings) Control system
Behavioral context Social environment (people) and spatial environment Social environment (people) and spatial environment as well as basic traffic rules Traffic system, laws (vehicles and traffic environment, road category, traffic signals)
Expected behavior of other road users Staying behavior, social traffic behavior (limited) Staying behavior, social traffic behavior, technical and legal traffic behavior Technical and legal traffic behavior
Signals from the environment relevant to the behavior Landscape of town and country, design of public space Urban and rural landscape, design of public space, street design Signals, speed, road surface, thresholds, traffic signs and signs, traffic lights
Staircase model according to Hans Monderman: The willingness to drive quickly increases already in the first four minutes of travel, while it increases continuously - albeit more slowly - during the rest of the journey. If the model is combined with the location of different locations, criteria for the design of the public space can be defined.

The revitalization and identity creation of the places counteracts the theory that motorized road users, with increasing distance from their place of residence, develop increasing indifference towards the residents and their living spaces along the route and thus drive higher speeds. The initiator of the Shared Space , Hans Monderman, expresses this connection in his staircase model.

At the same time, the lack of traffic regulations creates an intentional insecurity, which paradoxically creates a feeling of security. One of the principles of the shared space is: "Uncertainty creates security". Due to the sometimes confusing traffic routing , every road user is forced to constantly make a judgment as to which actions the current situation requires. The human instinct to act carefully and probing in an unclear situation results in a noticeably slower speed for motorized road users.

According to the transport planners involved, this effect creates complex transport and urban development improvements. As in the early years of the automobile, the speed difference between motorized and non-motorized road users is significantly lower than it is today, so that the risk of accidents is generally lower. If an accident does nevertheless occur, the damage is usually minor. The ability to react to other road users also improves at slower speeds. Reduced speed also results in a noticeable reduction in noise . In addition, by loosening up the space and lowering speeds, fragmentation effects disappear.

At this point, critical voices question the efficiency of the shared space . However, test facilities show that road users move faster despite the lower speeds. Continuous slow driving makes more sense than fast “Stop & Go”, as is caused by traffic lights, parked delivery vehicles or stop signs . Continuous driving also avoids unnecessary pollutant emissions , so that an overall improvement in the general quality of life can be assumed. Critics argue, however, that the shared space approach burdens the courts excessively due to a softened legal situation.

Differentiation from other concepts of traffic calming

In contrast to concepts such as the traffic-calmed area or the encounter zone, shared space is not a traffic law arrangement. Rather, Shared Space describes a planning idea or a planning process, comparable to the Bern model and the Woonerf concept, and provides suggestions as to how liveable street space can be designed. There is also a demarcation by the degree of regulation: Hardly regulated (shared space) → very little regulated (traffic-calmed area, meeting zone ) → little regulated ( traffic-calmed business area ) → regulated ( Tempo 30 zone ). Furthermore, a distinction can be made with regard to the leveling of the road space, the tolerable volume of vehicle traffic and the permitted maximum speed:

Pace zone Traffic-free area Encounter zone Shared space
Leveling No Possible Possible Yes
Vehicular traffic Little Very little Little to strong Little to strong
speed <30 km / h Walking pace <20 km / h customized

Implementation and requirements

Risk assessment

Transport Campaign "One false move and you're dead" (dt .: One wrong move and you're dead ) in the early 1990s in the UK

The assessment of risk perception in relation to staying and moving in public (street) space is an important indicator for the quality of public space. The "Cultural Theory of risk" (German: Cultural Theory of risk ) assumes that humans with increasing civilization and society has been equipped with a regulation culturally influenced perceptions. The development of mass motorization since the 1960s induced an association of motorized traffic with a dangerous situation in line with everyday experience, so that many people perceive the new traffic situation of the shared space as dangerous compared to conventional traffic concepts.

The essence of the technocratized traffic environment is decisive for this consideration . Because the motorized traffic flow cannot be controlled by the individual himself, the feeling of insecurity is increased. An example is crossing a street when it is green. Most people find this situation safer than crossing a street without traffic lights. The scenery remains controllable because everyone involved has to act according to given rules. In an unregulated situation, what is happening can only be controlled to a limited extent; rather, other road users have to be trusted. The intuitive behavior is similar in both situations. Although the road could easily be crossed when it is green, according to a study, 35% of people still insure themselves by looking to the left and right .

Consideration of the weak road users

The implementation of a shared space is problematic for the “weak” traffic groups of the blind , wheelchair users , deaf people , children and the elderly, for example because they cannot make eye contact, feel at the mercy of traffic or cannot assess the risks of self-confident behavior. In the integrated planning process of the shared space , their interests must be taken into account from the start. People with limited sensory perception in particular feel insecure without regular guidance and may be excluded from public life.

Judging by the consensus of some citizens' assemblies on the subject, the development of the shared space is largely welcomed by wheelchair users and pedestrians, for example. Wheelchair users in particular emphasize the lack of sidewalks, which they now have to bypass with considerable expenditure of time. Pedestrian associations, on the other hand, value equality between cars and pedestrians, which some associations do not go far enough. Criticism of Shared Space comes in particular from associations of the blind and deaf, who see their situation in road traffic worsened in the course of a complete deregulation and the lack of orientation aids. Deaf people are less affected than blind people, who fail to make eye contact, the cornerstone of shared space . Failure to take countermeasures to ensure equality for disabled people is illegal in Germany, for example, in accordance with Section 8 (1) and Section 4 of the Disability Equality Act .

The orientation of mentally handicapped people takes place via tactile , acoustically or optically structured, constant stimuli emanating from curbs, the acoustic wall of a street, an acoustic signal when a traffic light system is green and contrasting surfaces. Representatives of the blind associations predominantly criticize the lack of defined subdivisions of the traffic area, for example between the sidewalk and the road . In addition to the background noise from the traffic, your orientation when crossing a street at right angles is based on the alignment of the curb, the direction of a groove pattern (ribs on the road surface) or the directional arrow on the underside of a request panel of a traffic light system.

Walking lines for blind people: The goals (triangles) should be reached by using the floor markings (purple lines), curbs (red lines) and the directional arrows at the traffic lights (blue lines). The triangles mark the direction of the destination, the semicircles are 5, 11 and 23 meters away from the starting point.

In an experiment by the Association for Education for the Blind and Visually Impaired on the effectiveness of the three orientation aids, three semicircles were drawn around a starting point in a test setup on a large asphalt surface. The widths of a narrow two-lane street without parking lanes (5 meters), a two-lane street with parking lanes on both sides (11 meters) and a four-lane city street with parking lanes on both sides (23 meters) were simulated with different radii. The test persons recorded the direction to be taken using the orientation aids. When crossing the circles, it was recorded how many degrees the test person deviated from the target. As expected, the evaluation shows that the deviation increases with longer walking distances. It can be clearly seen that the curb is the safest directional indicator. Orientation using the directional arrow requires a great deal of mental effort due to its small size. The same applies to orientation using floor markings, in which the white cane has to be pressed hard on the floor.

In order to compensate for the elimination of curbs in the shared space , the Joint Expert Committee for Environment and Transport (GFUV), in which numerous associations for the blind are organized, calls for the installation of easily perceptible floor indicators. According to this, clear structures in the form of guidance systems for the blind should mark the course of the streets. By interrupting this continuous orientation - for example by means of cross markings - a transitional situation can be suggested to both motorists and blind people. Overall, sufficient standards are to be introduced. The demands of the interest groups, especially the blind, were implemented.

Policy requirements

Because the implementation of transport policy required more and more technical expertise , politicians increasingly referred to technical experts in the course of technological developments. However, these act less according to political goals. Based on this patronizing of politicians, Shared Space assumes a reorganization of politics. The overriding goals of politicians are the use and design of living space in the sense of sustainable quality of life. In this context, the term “ empowerment ” (German: self-empowerment ) is used as a synonym for the return of citizens and politicians to their actual tasks and responsibilities. Shared Space provides the so-called nine-cell model as a manual for this restructuring . Tasks and working methods are agreed in it.

Model of the nine cells
politics draft execution
perspective Decision:
human space or
Traffic area
Design permanently:
Humanity vs.
Traffic behavior
Technology is not an end in itself
Action Integrality
Empowerment and Participation
Politics steers processes instead of products
cooperation of all disciplines
Instruments Think in terms of processes Participative design
communication methods
Choice of material and placement
Use of new materials
The process for implementing the shared space runs in the color-coded diagonal from top left (1) to bottom right (3):
  1. Politics: The politically responsible formulate the objective of the project, which is then discussed by all those involved, such as residents, road users, authorities and experts, contributing their creativity, their wishes and their expertise.
  2. Draft: In the draft, the results of the discussions from step 1 are concretized by experts in drafts. The willingness to cooperate, be creative and communicate with each other and with those involved has top priority.
  3. Execution: The execution is not just about the simple implementation of the plan in terms of traffic construction, but about weighing up which plan details ( street furniture , materials) achieve the best effect. For example, the choice of road surface as well as the height and position of street lamps can have a significant impact on the effect of shared space .

In this process, represented by the diagonal, politics shows the direction. There must be lively communication between the individual sections - discussions in the meantime contribute significantly to a good end result. Shared Space distinguishes between spatial and democratic quality during the development process. While in the spatial sense comprehensive technical competence contributes to an overall higher level (fields above the diagonal), the democratic quality means shared responsibility of those affected (fields below the diagonal). Both aspects have a decisive influence on the end result and reinforce or complement each other. Experience has shown that when implementing a shared space , problems can arise when it comes to classifying it in the existing legislation, securing funding and clarifying responsibilities.

Project evaluations and applicability


Main intersection of the parish of
Poynton , England , 2011
Exhibition Road, Kensington , London , Shared Space Project, 2012

Because Shared Space breaks the usual rules in traffic, many people are initially skeptical. However, since the first projects in the Netherlands contributed to fewer accidents and a better quality of life, interest has grown. It is argued that the roads affected were not the main accident sites anyway. However, there should not have been a serious accident since then in the 107 Dutch locations in which Shared Space has been implemented. In Bohmte , the EU model project in Germany, there were more accidents overall than before the renovation. However, it mostly remained with minor damage to property. The results so far do not yet allow a generally valid statement on road safety in the shared space . However, no noticeable deterioration was found in any project. What is undisputed, however, is that the roads improve quality of life through less noise (through slow driving) and lower pollutant emissions (through smooth driving).

Implementation in cities

In addition, traffic planners discuss their use in the city . One example is the redesigned Kensington High Street in London. Although curbs, traffic lights and road markings have been left in place, the main features of the shared space are recognizable. There are no traffic signs, no barriers, more space for foot traffic and provoked insecurity through bicycle parking spaces on the median. Two years after completion, the number of accidents was 44 percent lower. However, Kensington High Street in London also shows that when there is a lot of traffic, certain rules are indispensable.

Projects worldwide



Web links

Commons : Shared space  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
  • - website of Ben Hamilton-Baillie with many projects
  • - Accident Research of Insurers (UDV) with texts, presentations, examples and a brochure
  • Bern Model ( Memento from February 25, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) - Civil engineering office of the Canton of Bern with examples similar to shared space in the Canton of Bern (in the Web Archive )

Individual evidence

  1. Ute Eberle: Danger is good. Die Zeit, February 11, 2010, accessed on May 16, 2016 .
  2. ^ Belgium: Ostend ; Denmark: Ejby ; Germany: Bohmte ; England: Brighton , London , Suffolk ; Netherlands: Emmen , Friesland , Haren
  3. Ben Hamilton-Baillie: What is Shared Space? (PDF; 1.3 MB) Archived from the original on December 14, 2010 ; accessed on October 16, 2008 .
  4. "Community street" instead of "Shared Space" . In: Hamburger Abendblatt , September 1, 2008.
  5. Shared Space: Top ten readers' letters . In: Hamburger Abendblatt , January 14, 2009.
  6. Jürgen Schultheiß: A common street for everyone. Frankfurter Rundschau, January 25, 2010, accessed on August 3, 2011 .
  7. ^ City of Schönebeck (Elbe). In: Retrieved May 25, 2016 .
  8. ^ Leopold von Zedlitz-Neukirch: The Prussian State . Berlin, 1835.
  9. Jump up George Street and Bridge Street in London
  10. ^ From Here To Modernity Architects. CIAM (Congres Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne), accessed on March 18, 2009 (English).
  11. ^ Friedrich-Engels-Platz, renovation took place in 1971
  12. ^ Schmucki, p. 120
  13. after Hans Bernhard Reichow: The car-friendly city - a way out of traffic chaos , 1959
  14. ^ Schmucki, p. 186
  15. Telephone survey: Many signs are superfluous. ADAC , archived from the original on July 17, 2009 ; Retrieved March 24, 2009 .
  16. Sign forest should be cleared - additional costs in the millions. Spiegel Online , April 14, 2000, accessed March 20, 2009 .
  17. ^ Forest of signs in German cities. ZDF WISO , August 30, 2004, accessed March 24, 2009 .
  18. Hamilton-Baillie: Shared Space: Reconciling People, Places and Traffic , p. 163
  19. Shared Space: Raum für alle, p. 20
  20. ^ Final documentation of the planning process in Bohmte. (PDF; 12.7 MB) p. 45 f. , accessed March 20, 2009 .
  21. a b Shared Space: Final Evaluation and Results. Keuning Instituut, p. 20 , archived from the original on February 3, 2010 ; accessed on March 20, 2009 .
  22. Shared Space: Raum für alle, p. 16
  23. to Shared Space: Raum für alle, p. 15
  24. ^ Adams (1995): Risk .
  25. ^ Living with Risk: the importance of risk in the public realm. CABE 2007.
  26. ^ Cultural Theory , Thompson et al. 1990
  27. Adams, p. Ix
  28. ^ A b Pr. David G. Myers: Psychology . Springer, 2008, p. 440
  29. study by Geert van Waeg, President of the International Federation of Pedestrians. In: mobilogisch! 1/14. P. 9.
  30. Schmidt-Block, Böhringer, 2007, p. 2
  31. A requirement table is a guidance system for the blind in the form of mostly orange-yellowish boxes on traffic lights
  32. Böhringer, 2007, p. 28
  33. Böhringer, 2007, p. 29
  34. Schmidt-Block, Böhringer, 2007, p. 4
  35. Schmidt-Block, Böhringer, 2007, p. 6
  36. a b afterwards Bremer Str. Before Lübbert. Bohmte community, July 25, 2008, accessed March 24, 2009 .
  37. Schmidt-Block, Böhringer, 2007, p. 7 f.
  38. ^ High Street Kensington paving. Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, archived from the original on April 5, 2009 ; accessed on April 17, 2009 .
  39. Shared Space: Raum für alle, p. 29
  40. Shared Space: Raum für alle, p. 32
  41. ^ Inspiring Infrastructure: Shared Space at Busy Intersection, Poynton. In: Retrieved July 14, 2015 .
  42. ^ Peter Neumann: Parking prohibited . In: Berliner Zeitung , February 19, 2009
  43. As of October 20, 2008
  44. Project: Three places without signs and traffic lights. ORF , October 20, 2008, accessed on March 24, 2009 .
  45. Traffic study and evaluation of the shared space (September 11, 2009; PDF; 1.5 MB)
  46. Traffic study in the municipality of Bohmte with special consideration of the effects of the shared space area. (PDF; 1.5 MB) LOGIS.NET RIS competence center for transport and logistics in the Weser-Ems region, accessed on May 16, 2016 .
  47. ^ Kensington High Street - Design process., archived from the original on April 2, 2009 ; accessed on March 31, 2009 .
  48. Simon Jenkins: Rip out the traffic lights and railings. Our streets are better without them. The Guardian , February 29, 2008, accessed March 24, 2009 .
  49. compared to an average of 17 percent in the rest of London.

This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on July 12, 2009 .