Shared Space IPENZ Award

The IPENZ Transportation Group Study Award aims to advance the knowledge base and practice of transportation engineering in New Zealand by providing funding for professionals working in relevant fields to study or tour New Zealand or overseas to learn about issues that are important and topical in transportation engineering.  This knowledge can then be spread to colleagues around New Zealand.  Mairi Joyce from Flow was awarded this Study Award in 2011.

Mairi’s research proposal involved researching ‘shared space’ schemes and gathering information which can be used to develop a design standard for these schemes in New Zealand.

Shared space is an innovative street design approach which blends the skills of traffic engineering, road safety, urban design and human behaviour research. Shared space aims to promote pedestrian priority, while maintaining access for both pedestrians and vehicles.

While the concept is relatively new in New Zealand, shared spaces have been implemented in Europe for a number of years.  Mairi visited some of these and discussed design issues with European professionals as part of her research study.

The project was divided into three stages:

Stage 1:  A literature Review of existing design guidelines for shared spaces in New Zealand and overseas.  This included liaison with local authorities, the NZTA and professional service providers (transport and urban design professionals) to ensure a thorough review of existing literature.  Following the completion of this Literature Review a gap/opportunities analysis was completed to identify areas where liaison with overseas counterparts would be of benefit to developing a Shared Space Design Guideline for New Zealand.

Stage 2: Visit to a series of completed shared space schemes in the United Kingdom and Europe to observe their performance and discuss design issues with the relevant agencies.  The final list of example sites and agencies was confirmed following the completion of Stage 1, to ensure sites with relevant issues were included.  Meetings were also held with key personnel involved in designing these schemes and the Department for Transport Research Group in the United Kingdom.

Stage 3: Documenting the research findings and sharing these with New Zealand local authorities and practitioners.  Some of the issues Mairi investigated as part of the project include:

  • the effect of design elements in slowing vehicle speeds  
  • the effectiveness of shared space schemes in different traffic environments (e.g. different vehicle and pedestrian flows, presence of heavy vehicles, use of parking)
  • the effect of design elements on increasing pedestrian amenity and priority
  • the effect of shared space schemes on crash rates and types
  • the effect of shared space schemes on the number of walking trips in the area 
  • the effect of shared space schemes on visually impaired users
  • the economic benefits of shared space schemes

If you would like any further information on this project please contact Mairi at 

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