Friday, May 01, 2009

city of Christiansfeld, Denmark

For instance, the city of Christiansfeld, Denmark used “ambiguity and urban legibility” in street design to reduce high death rates on the town’s central traffic intersection. Instead of erecting warning signs, road markings, and traffic signals, Bjarne Winterberg and the engineering firm Ramboll removed traffic signals and road markings. No mode of transport was given priority and pedestrians, buses, cars, and trucks used eye contact to negotiate the junction.

Surface treatment, lightning columns, and junction corners were squared up. The purpose was to make the intersection resemble the centre of the town or to create a public realm. Expectedly, the number of killed or seriously injured (KSI) during the last three years was reduced to zero, moreover, traffic backups were reduced. Compared to junctions having traffic signals, ambiguous junctions prevent accidents, reduce delays, and are cheaper to construct and maintain.

Shared space is another woonerf principle that is applied to transform busy traffic intersections. In Friesland market town of Oosterwolde, different types of traffic intermingle giving an impression of chaos and disorder, in fact, traffic negotiates the junction using eye contact and care for other types of transport. No state regulation or control is visible and traffic movement depends on informal convention and legibility.

1 comment:

yogijp said...

The planned suburban community of Radburn, New Jersey, founded in 1929 as "a town for the motor age," took the segregation principle to its logical extreme. Radburn's key design element was the strict separation of vehicles and people; cars were afforded their own generously proportioned network, while pedestrians were tucked safely away in residential "super blocks," which often terminated in quiet cul de sacs. Parents could let kids walk to the local school without fearing that they might be mowed down in the street. Radburn quickly became a template for other communities in the US and Britain, and many of its underlying assumptions were written directly into traffic codes.