In 2021, we finished the Copenhagen case study and are in the process of finalising the analyses. Following the Copenhagen case, we are now working with the case studies in Oslo and Gothenburg. The three cities have different mobility cultures, climate and topographies, but they all work with walkability and are faced with different mobility problems that make them interesting cases to examine and compare.
Here you can read about our case cities
Copenhagen is interesting as the city has experienced an increase in tourism and in the general use of urban spaces for recreational use. While Copenhagen is known as being bike-friendly, the City now also focus on making the city more walkable with urban design projects already being implemented. Copenhagen has lately done a massive investment in cycling and walking bridges, but relatively little knowledge exists on how this infrastructure is used.
Istedgade is a street in the central district Vesterbro next to the main railway station. It has undergone a process of redesign making it more walking friendly at the expense of bike lanes. Furthermore, a new metro station opened in 2019 on the square Enghave Plads next to Istedgade. The street is heavily trafficked by cars, bicycles and pedestrians being both visitors and locals going to the street’s many shops and cafes, as well as to schools and childcare centres in this district.
Walking was analysed through an interdisciplinary approach – our Street Living Walking Lab approach, with synergistic quantitative and qualitative methods.
Among the fascinating interdisciplinary results were those on the interaction between pedestrians and cyclists on Enghave Plads. The qualitative observations and the interviews showed no signs of conflicts with cyclists crossing the square. This is even though video recordings showed a considerable number of them. Smart video processing showed a probable cause; namely that cyclists on the square moved at pedestrian pace, while those on the dedicated bicycle lanes at the edges of the square rode at a normal bicycling speed.
Some pedestrians expressed in interviews a need for more green and non-commercial "rest" areas on Istedgade. The project decided to test such an installation, refurbishing a kerbside street parking space.
The analyses showed a significant interest and positive attitudes towards such an installation. Useful findings came up on e.g., the importance of a locally adapted design, need for promotion and the benefits of cooperating with local shop keepers.
Oslo City integrates walking in their vision of a car-free city centre plan and their ambitious plan to be carbon-neutral by 2030. Oslo is also a popular tourist destination with cruise ships and the need to regulate and manage such flows of tourists may increase in the future. The combination of many tourists, busy everyday-life, and different types of public transport (busses, trains and light rail) makes it an interesting case study.
The specific case uses the square Stortorvet in the central part of Oslo and next to Oslo Cathedral. While centrally placed, Stortorvet is somewhat left behind and almost all activities are related to public transport or shopping in flower stalls. Relatively few people were registered on the square. We believe that Stortorvet has potential to become a better and more attractive square for both walking as part of a trip from a to b and for e.g. sitting activities.
Pre data collection was carried out in August 2021. Analyses are ongoing and gradually leading to the development of a test study with implementation period in August 2022.
Gothenburg has a long tradition for being a frontrunner on urban mobility initiatives. The latest years, cyclists and pedestrians have been high on the agenda together with public transport. Today, walking accounts for approx. 20 percent of all travel in Gothenburg. The City has an ambition to increase it to at least 28 percent. Such ambitions makes Gothenburg an interesting case for our project.
We have chosen a street and square, Stenpiren, near the waterfront in the central part of Gothenburg. It is a newly renovated square and also a pier for local passenger ferries in the urban agglomeration. Stenpiren is designed to be a central hub for public transport, active mobility, and public life.
Furthermore, it includes a main bicycle route passing through the square. This enables studying “first/last mile walking”, potential conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians as well as the functioning of the square as a place for waiting, relaxing or enjoying city port activities during e.g. weekends.
Pre data collection was carried out in the autumn of 2021. Analyses are ongoing and gradually leading to the development of a test study with implementation period in the autumn of 2022.