How do we get more capacity out of our urban infrastructure? Are our roads designed for all users? Could there be a more efficient use of land that gets people where they need to go safely and efficiently?
Cities and citizens are asking these questions and demanding change, but there continues to be an ongoing modern planning problem of accommodating everyone’s needs with limited budgets and infrastructure built for cars.
Enter Mobycon, a Netherlands-based engineering and consulting firm with a North American presence. Their North American mission is to apply world-leading Dutch design to our intersections. We at Miovision are excited to partner by bringing our data collection and analysis tools to a new Masterclass first delivered on Monday June 27th in Ottawa.
It’s no secret that the Dutch do multimodal well. They’re arguably the world leader in multimodal design and have been practicing the discipline since the 1970’s when Dutch citizens took to the streets to protest child deaths from motorists. Along with other factors, the resulting movement caused the Netherlands to focus on alternative transportation to make cities safer and more people-friendly.
Overview of the Rethink Living Streets Masterclass
Data, Design and the Protected Intersection
Recently, we hosted 20 engineers and planners in Ottawa from various public and private organizations for an interactive one-day masterclass. The format mixed best practice presentations with group-based design and application.
Mobycon’s founder and CEO Johan Diepens led the Masterclass and shared his experiences of bringing these best practices overseas. Following each presentation, attendees were assigned an exercise to apply their learnings to retrofit a local Ottawa intersection with better multimodal design. Miovision supported these efforts by providing data, video, and visuals for each of the case study intersections via Central.
Dutch Design and North American Intersections
Johan facilitated each design session and focused attendees on redesigning selected Ottawa intersections to incorporate multimodal lanes, signs, and striping while:
- Minimizing points of conflict;
- Creating 90° intersecting paths to encourage eye contact between road users;
- Separating modes at conflict point by time or space; and,
- Separating modes that have a large mass / speed difference.
Interactive Workshopping to Creatively Apply Learning
Throughout the day, participants listened to Johan and other representatives of Mobycon explain multimodal design best practices. Following each presentation, participants had the opportunity to redesign an intersection and then submit their design for feedback and questions from Johan and other participants.
In the exercises, each group of participants were provided a large detailed drawing of a typical Ottawa intersection, along with a piece of velum paper to overlay and redesign the intersection to accommodate better multimodal design.
These feedback sessions were easily the highlight of the day.
What’s next for the Protected Intersection Masterclass?
Based on feedback and our own positive experience of the day, we want to take this class further with Mobycon and provide this curriculum to more municipalities across North America. The format of the workshop is fun and dynamic and provides planners and engineers with tangible learnings that can be immediately applied to today’s intersections.