Evaluating a Shared Spaces Intervention. A Case Study of Street Users in Auckland, New Zealand
Oliver, M; Badland, HM; Duncan, S; Wooller, L; Wright, R; Miner-Williams, W
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The environmental qualities of urban spaces have the potential to influence peoples’ behaviours, including mode of transport and physical activity patterns, shopper spending habits, and social engagement and behavioural characteristics. Increasingly, urban planners and transport engineers are integrating concepts such as self -‐ explaining roads and shared spaces into environmental design approaches, for improved driver behaviour, pedestrian safety, and health behaviours. Despite this, research focusing on the effects of such interventions is limited, largely due to the substantial expense of implementing built environment infrastructure, and a general disconnect between researchers and regulatory bodies responsible for intervention implementation. Greater focu s needs to be on understanding the effects these interventions can have on the general population, to inform future infrastructural initiatives and investment. This study compares the profiles and perceptions of street users immediately post and sixteen mo nths after a major streetscape upgrade to a shared spaces mode in the the Fort Street precinct (central business district), in Auckland, New Zealand. A convenience sample strategy was employed for data collection and participants completed in -‐ person survey s . Descriptive data treatment and inferential statistical analyses were undertaken to compare user profiles and opinions pre and post streetscape upgrades. In total , 373 street users in the Fort Street precinct participated in this research. Overall, findi ngs indicate positive perceptions of the Fort Street upgrades and positive impacts on health -‐ related behaviours. Recommendations for further improvements to the area predominantly focused on improving pedestrian safety, including reducing traffic speeds, r educing car usage of the area, and providing better clarity on appropriate driver behaviours.