Over the past few years, Amsterdam’s Central Station has been extensively redesigned and modernised. Part of the station’s renovation involved implementing a so-called shared space at the back of the station near the waterfront, which requires pedestrians, cyclists, and moped riders to share the same space in an area of approximately 100 metres. The decision to implement this somewhat experimental solution was made to optimise road safety and traffic efficiency.
In November 2015, the city unveiled its new bicycle and pedestrian passage underneath the Central Station and finished working on the public space at the back of the station: the latter is mainly used by commuters. When using the Shared Space, these different types of road users are all personally responsible and accountable for their own decision-making process and have to adjust their behaviour accordingly.
Personal responsibility: a success story
The Shared Space experiment has been a roaring success: because there are now fewer rules than before, cyclists and pedestrians all have to be more aware of their surroundings and mindful of their behaviour. Given the fact over 39,000 people – approximately 21,000 moped users and 18,000 pedestrians – use this space every day, this is no mean feat. It was determined that the shared space is at its busiest and most crowded during the afternoon and evening rush hours, with approximately 2000 cyclists and 1700 pedestrians crossing this space every hour. Although there were initially some concerns about road safety, close monitoring and observation led to the conclusion that no noteworthy accidents have occurred since the Shared Space experiment first came to fruition.