Integration of Noise Action and Traffic Planning
Redistribution of transportation space favouring cycle traffic
Design of the test
It had been agreed on to test the new approach first and to monitor and evaluate this test in order to point out any major flaws. For this test three routes were chosen:
- The Brandenburgische Straße is a highly frequented street (about 20,000 cars per day), issuing noise levels up to 74 dB(A) during the day and up to 68 dB(A) at night, therefore being one of the noisiest streets all throughout Berlin. Much of the houses along the street are inhabited, mixed with some shops and service stores.
- The Dudenstraße faces quite the same levels of frequentation (18,000 cars per day) and noise (74/68 dB(A)) and similar utilisation of the buildings along the street. Even though, due to a different design of the street there is a high demand to change the traffic conditions and reduce the noise levels.
- The Prinzenallee also is highly frequented (up to 20,000 cars per day) and noisy (71/65 dB(A)) and features a lot of habitation, too.
The effect of the redesign of the streets on the different form of traffic and their sometimes competing needs were monitored in a study. The evaluation is finished by now.
Redesigning the streets
Originally all routes had two lanes in both directions to be used by motorised traffic. The plan was to change this design to one extraordinarily wide lane and to offer the rest of the space to the cycle traffic, except at most crossings, where the original design was unaltered.
The redesign primarily was done by changing the lane marking. This way is cheap on the one hand and on the other hand easily reversible. Planning and execution were part-financed by the European Union.
Stakeholders and planning
The planning was part of the Berlin Noise Action Plan, developed by the administrative department for city development and environment of the Berlin Senate. All traffic related aspects were dealt with by the former department, the department for traffic management and the administrations of the districts. The evaluation was done by the bureau of planning LK Argus, and the whole process was supervised by a task force consisting of interest groups like the ADFC, ADAC, BUND and IHK besides the involved parts of administrations.
Outcomes and assessment
The major outcomes of the pre-post-comparison are listed below, taking into account all participants of traffic:
- No relevant decline in traffic amounts has been observed between 2009 and 2011, neither any large scale shift to parallel routes
- The redesign did not affect the flow of traffic in any particular way and, despite a slight decline in the number of (too) fast driving cars, no obvious change in the average speed of motorised traffic was observed. A slight decline also was observed in the number of cars double-parking.
- With double-parking being an often mentioned argument in disfavour of cycling strips, the delivery traffic was thoroughly monitored in Brandenburgische Straße and Prinzenallee, including recording the times the double-parked vehicle obstructed the flow of traffic, both cycle and motorised.
- The obstruction of cycle traffic decreased in both streets by about 80%. This decrease originates in the simplified change of lanes for cyclists and the creation of one extraordinary wide lane allowing drivers to easily pass the double-parked vehicle.
- The obstruction of motorised traffic decreased even more by about 90% on both routes.
- Public transport was almost not at all affected by the redesign, a slight increase in vehicle speed has been observed.
- The numbers of cyclists was monitored at several places along the routes but allowing no conclusion to be drawn on the effect of the project, since the number of cyclists tends to be influenced by the weather. Therefore, a long-time monitoring is necessary in order to allow a final evaluation.
- The number of pedestrians did not change, while the time pedestrians lingered before crossing the streets rose significantly (14 seconds to 17 to 23 seconds), possibly caused by the longer queues of vehicles due to the redesign.
The pre-post comparisons of the 3 routes showed clearly that a redesign as undertaken is a possible and reasonable solution without shifting the problems to parallel routes or impairing other means of transportation.
At the same time the quality of cycle traffic was improved, obstructions by double-parking reduced and the level of noise was reduced by 1 to 1.5 dB(A), thus promoting cycle traffic on a long time scale. The quality of public transportation and motorised traffic was slightly improved, too. Meanwhile the pedestrians had to linger longer before crossing the streets, thus calling for better consideration in upcoming projects.
At the beginning of the project a fourth route, the Drontheimer Straße, was considered for redesign, which was prevented by ongoing construction works. The positive outcomes of the evaluation backed up the decision of all stakeholders to redesign this fourth route after the end of construction in October 2012.
The examples show the possibility of reducing the number of lanes per direction from two to one in favour of a cycling strip, even with frequentations up to 20,000 cars per day, without impairing one mode of transportation or shifting problems to other routes. Besides the positive effects on cycle traffic also the obstruction by double-parking was significantly reduced. Also a small contribution to noise reduction was achieved.
Despite the requirement of a case-specific adaption the implemented measures are suitable even for strongly frequented main roads with busy surroundings.
Planning and realisation were financed through the EU and the country of Berlin, label of funding 11181 UEP II/6-2
The pre-post comparison described above pointed out in which ways the sometimes clashing interests of the different modes of transportation were influenced by the redesign and that the measures taken are suitable for improving the overall situation in the streets. Positive and negative outcomes were listed above, focussing on the following aspects:
- Amount of motorised traffic along the redesigned and parallel routes
- Speed and quality of traffic of motorised vehicles
- Speed and quality of traffic of public transportation
- (double-)parking of delivery vehicles
- Amount of cycle traffic
- Amount and duration of lingering of pedestrian while crossing the routes
Administrative department for city development and environment of the Berlin Senate
LK Argus GmbH
Monitoring will presumably end in December 2014. Permanent implementation if positively proved.
- Information on noise reduction on the sites of the Berlin Senate (in German)
- Senatsverwaltung für Stadtentwicklung und Umwelt Berlin/LK Argus (Bearb.): Lärmaktionsplan Berlin - Verkehrliche Wirkungsuntersuchungen an den LAP-Beispielstrecken. Abschlussbericht, Dezember 2011.
- Heinrichs, E. / Horn, B. / Kaptain, J.: "Umverteilung von Verkehrsflächen zugunsten des Radverkehrs ein Beispiel für die Integration von Lärmaktions- und Verkehrsplanung", Straßenverkehrstechnik 10/2012, S. 631-638.