Sunday, May 17, 2009

Potsdam, Germany - Part 1

Our group visited Potsdam on Friday, 5/15/09. Potsdam is a city in the state of Berlin and has around 150,000 people. They monitor travel behavior regularly and have around 20% of trips taken by bike, 23% by walking, 20% by transit and 37% by car. Much better rates than the U.S., but they still aspire to increase them. They estimate around 80,000 bike trips every day.

One of their measures to make it easier to walk and bike is to install wayfinding signs for both bicyclists and pedestrians. As with some of the other communities, they have the planning concept that new residential areas should be within biking distance of the town center.

A university professor gave us a presentation about the use of road safety audits, which he recommended for all new roads and reconstructed roads. These are done by an independent team at different stages of project development to identify areas to be modified to improve safety.

His second topic was on the concept of shared space, which is an idea where all road users share the same area, without many signs or pavement markings. He made the point that this concept only works in certain situations, such as low speeds, relatively equal volumes between modes and places where there is good visibility between the different users.

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