Mobility and Transport

Clean transport, Urban transport

1.7 Mixed-use zones

1.7 Mixed-use zones


Mixed-use zones (or shared spaces) are designed to encourage different modes of transport to co­exist on the same roads and public spaces. This can include cyclists mixing with pedestrians, motorised vehicles, or both.

Considerations for applicability

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Level of cycling

Mixed-use zones are most appropriate where there is an existing high-level of cycling and other road-users are accustomed to sharing space with cyclists. As such, there will be limited impacts from utilising this type of zone however, the benefits include bringing different road-users together in a safe space and often a reduction in the speed of motor vehicles; enhancing safety for all users of the space.

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Urban layout/topography

Providing access to traffic-free areas for cyclists will address concerns related to directness and coherence of the cycle network.

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Finance resources

The finances required will depend on the scale of the changes to the infrastructure that are required, although these are likely to be limited and largely comprise of additional signage to clearly delineate the mixed-use zone. It may also be necessary to provide signage or guidance about the correct use of the shared space.

In Bregenz, the city administration invested €350,000 in altering an area to a mixed-use zone, which involved opening the area to motorised traffic in addition to pedestrians and cyclists.

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Time & human resources

As mixed-use zones often utilize existing carriageway or pedestrian spaces,   the infrastructure may not require major changes. New signage and road markings can be quick to implement.

A significant amount of the time and human resources required can relate to the planning and management of the mixed-use zone. Planning activities include understanding how much the infrastructure needs to change to accommodate a mixed-use zone (if at all) and whether any planning consent is required; consulting existing road users, and establishing agreed rules for the use of the mixed-use zone. A key activity once the mixed-use has been implemented is communicating and enforcing the correct use of the measure.

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Allowing bicycles to travel in areas where they were previously restricted (e.g. pedestrianised zones) will improve accessibility and reduce cycling journey times. Mixed-use zones do not necessarily afford priority to bicycles over other users of the space, and therefore the impact on accessibility for the cycling community is limited, however wider benefits of mixed-use zones are evident in the case studies presented below.

Note: An overview of the direct and indirect impacts resulting from correctly implemented cycling measures is available in Challenges that cities face and how cycling can address them.

In-depth measure analysis, case studies and further guidance