Bologna

The school square is a new temporary pedestrian space in the Navile district. It is located at the intersection of via Procaccini (at the corner of via Di Vincenzo / Andrea da Faenza), near the Testoni Fioravanti schools. The new pedestrian square allows students of the Testoni-Fioravanti schools to safely reach the school, with furniture creating a place for students to enjoy, play and meet, including also all other people who live in the area.

TIMELINE

Pre-intervention analysis

Launch of EX-TRA project

Experiment is announced

Implementation

Post-intervention analysis

Evaluation and decision-making

Surveys closed, EX-TRA project continues

Three-tools application

1.
IDENTIFY POTENTIAL AREAS
HOW

Input from the municipality:

  1. Interventions areas already chosen by the City of Bologna.
  2. Potential streets for closure (results of internal survey by participatory process).
OUTPUT

School streets selection

2.
CALCULATE CATCHMENT AREAS & POPULATION
OUTPUT

Area of influence around street school areas

3A.
ANALYSE LOCAL ACCESSIBILITY
OUTPUT

Identification of which amenities are missing in the area and might be of added value

3B.
VALUATE PATH QUALITY & ATTRACTIVENESS
OUTPUT

Street school areas with high potential for improvement

4.
ALLOCATE
POTENTIAL SCHOOL STREET CLOSURES
OUTPUT

School streets intervention areas with possible locations of street closures

5.
DEVELOP & COMPARE
STREET CLOSURE SCENARIO WITH BAU* SCENARIO
OUTPUT

Impacts on modal share shift and traffic volume dynamics

6.
ANALYSE RESULTS FROM THREE TOOLS
OUTPUT

Identify school streets (5 per
tool) with higher potential for improvement

7.
DISCUSS RESULTS WITH LOCAL PRACTITIONERS
OBJECTIVE
  1. Showcase potential school streets implementation
  2. Support for planning decisions
STEP BY STEP

Potential areas for school streets were suggested by local authorities based on a long, city-wide participatory planning approach focusing on opportunities and problems of each neighbourhood in Bologna.

To evaluate the influence of the potential school streets intervention areas, catchment areas (isochrones) are calculated. Therefore, the potential intervention areas, in this case schools, are used as starting points. From each school, isochrones are calculated for 5-min walking distance, using the existing pedestrian network. The isochrones are intersected with population data to give an estimation of how many people could benefit from the street redesign.

Streets can be redesigned for several purposes. In the context of school streets, they are often transferred into playgrounds or play areas. To identify which city areas currently have a shortcoming in the availability of playgrounds, local accessibility analyses are conducted. Therefore, the currently existing playgrounds are visualized and the count of playgrounds per isochrone is generated. Catchment areas with low availability of playgrounds, but high population density, thus have a high potential for redesignating the street into a playground.

The material and perceived quality of urban streets significantly affect walkability and cycleability. The IAPI index uses several indicators to assess the material quality of a city’s path network, expressed as the level of walkability. In Bologna, two new indicators about the perceived comfort and safety of major streets are used based on the “città 30” survey results. Two results are obtained: a “walkability assessment map” showing the level of quality for each street in Bologna and, based on the results of the previous steps, the “potential for improvement” map, where schools’ catchment areas are ranked based on the average quality of the local path network.

Allocating potential locations for street closures and for low-traffic streets was done using the survey on street improvements in terms of safety and comfort carried out by the City of Bologna. A selection was made based on the overlap with the identified intervention areas. Streets with a key traffic function (arterial roads, main passages, …) were limited in car capacity (i.e. low-traffic streets), others were entirely closed for cars.

First, a business-as-usual scenario (BAU) was created in MATSim, using the input data. This scenario simulates and calibrates the ‘normal’ situation. Next, the school street closure scenario was developed, using the same input data, but with alterations to the street network, as explained in step 4. Finally, car traffic volumes were compared between the two scenarios and intervention areas with the most significant decreases in car traffic were identified.

The top 5 school streets catchment areas resulting from the application of each tool were chosen. Selected catchment areas have a higher potential for improvement and may suffer from (a combination of) 1) the absence of playgrounds coupled with high population density; 2) low levels of walkability; or 3) gain notable benefits deriving from street closures. The results of the analyses guide possible interventions regarding the improvement of local services (playgrounds), the redesign of public spaces, and the closure of some streets to cars.

A discussion is planned with local practitioners to showcase the potential school streets implementations. The aim is to discuss the results and collect feedback to further refine the analysis. The combination of the three tools could provide cities with a comprehensive analysis and support their planning decisions about street schools interventions.

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Tools

Developing Strategies for Change During Street Experiments

Many factors at play when it comes to organizing successful street experiments. In our research, we identified enablers and barriers that either support or limit street experiments on their way to triggering system change. Additionally, we recognized the role that municipalities adopt towards street experiments as particularly important in this process. The Developing Strategies for Change workshop brings these findings together and offers an interactive format for civil servants to explore different roles and enable collaboration between departments.

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Tools

Conversation Starter Deck

Organising a street experiment is a complex process. The Conversation Starter Deck is just that – designed to start the conversation about organizing a street experiment. The input for this deck is cards, drawn from insights generated during the EXTRA project. The questions on these cards are intended to provide policy-makers and experiment organisers with an overview of the most important aspects to consider while organising a street experiment. At the same time, it offers a unique and interactive form to engage diverse departments and discuss experiment goals and ambitions.

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Tools

GOAT (Geo Open Accessibility Tool)

GOAT is a digital planning tool designed to enhance sustainable mobility and urban development by integrating various accessibility indicators. It utilizes a broad spectrum of data, including points of interest, buildings, population data, land use, and environmental data. Tailored for local authorities, regions, and planning offices, GOAT aims to streamline planning processes, fostering efficiency, collaboration, and data-driven decision-making. Using OpenStreetMap data, it offers isochrones, multi-isochrones, heatmaps and scenarios supporting walking, cycling, and wheelchair accessibility assessments. Moreover, its digital accessibility facilitates participatory methods, engaging stakeholders, practitioners, citizens, and academics in exploring accessibility impacts in various cases.

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Tools

D4AMS (Dashboard for Alternative Mobility Scenarios)

The Dashboard for Alternative Mobility Scenarios (D4AMS) allows policymakers and mobility experts to explore the mobility outcomes of street experiments and shared mobility options on the city level. Various scenarios are presented for four case study cities: Ghent, Bologna, Munich, and Amsterdam. These scenarios include different configurations of shared mobility options and street closure plans, allowing for comparative analysis. The dashboard website also contains more information on the methodology and outlines major policy guidelines.

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Tools

IAPI (Assessing Inclusive Accessibility by Proximity)

IAPI is a GIS-based quantitative methodology for assessing accessibility, through active mobility, to a basket of daily, essential services at the district and city levels. IAPI measures accessibility by considering how the technical performances and perceived qualities of the neighborhood’s paths and public spaces can influence active mobility for pedestrians, people with reduced mobility, and cyclists. By using open data – mainly from OSM – integrated with crowdsourced information collected via citizen direct involvement, IAPI is designed to maximize scalability, transferability, and the level of customization for context-sensitive applications.

 

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Tools

StreetECHO

StreetECHO is a comprehensive open-source toolkit designed to facilitate stakeholder engagement with communities in the transformation of urban streets, emphasising the importance of diverse citizen perspectives, experiences, needs, and values related to city streets. This toolkit comprises a suite of tools including a data collection survey and a street mapping tool for documenting individual perceptions of street transformation. It also features a dynamic data visualisation tool, allowing users to navigate and engage with aggregated data in real-time. Additionally, StreetECHO offers a detailed workshop protocol for community engagement workshops, ensuring inclusive and effective participation.

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