Welcome to the EX-TRA Toolkit

EX-TRA (EXperimenting with City Streets to TRAnsform Urban Mobility) aims to offer inspiration and solutions for practitioners using street experiments to transform urban mobility

What are the different types of street experiments?

Street experiments aim to improve urban mobility by shifting from “streets for traffic towards streets for people.” Street experiments can include re-marking streets; re-purposing parking; partial or entire re-purposing of streets; and the flexible closure of streets. Our toolkit provides insight into the different types of street experiments and their capacity to cause system change.

Which barriers exist for street experiments and how can these be dealt with?

Because they challenge the status quo, street experiments face many barriers. Some of these barriers (e.g. design) are within the initiator’s control, while other barriers (e.g. institutional processes and regulations) are external. Our toolkit explains these barriers in more detail, highlights enablers, and provides practice-based solutions.

How can street experiment impacts be measured and learned from?

Measuring the impacts of street experiments is important to understand and communicate their added value. Impacts can include effects on accessibility, mobility, citizen perspectives, and system change. Experiments have implications for the street where they occur, and the city as a whole. Our toolkit helps determine where to experiment and how to upscale.

How can users be involved in street experiments?

Street experiments involve different stakeholders, each with their own idea about how streets should be used. Involving users and having a better understanding of their preferences is crucial for the success of such initiatives. Our toolkit provides further knowledge on how to include citizen perspectives.

How can municipalities support street experiments?

Municipalities have an important role when it comes to organising street experiments. As the primary regulating and decision-making body, a municipality can either limit or enable street experiments. Our toolkit is designed to help policy-makers understand the different roles they can adopt towards street experiments and how this affects their capacity to cause system change.

Find out
more
about EX-TRA

What are the different types of street experiments?

Street experiments aim to improve urban mobility by shifting from “streets for traffic towards streets for people.” Street experiments can include re-marking streets; re-purposing parking; partial or entire re-purposing of streets; and the flexible closure of streets. Our toolkit provides insight into the different types of street experiments and their capacity to cause system change.

Which barriers exist for street experiments and how can these be dealt with?

Because they challenge the status quo, street experiments face many barriers. Some of these barriers (e.g. design) are within the initiator’s control, while other barriers (e.g. institutional processes and regulations) are external. Our toolkit explains these barriers in more detail, highlights enablers, and provides practice-based solutions.

How can municipalities support street experiments?

Municipalities have an important role when it comes to organising street experiments. As the primary regulating and decision-making body, a municipality can either limit or enable street experiments. Our toolkit is designed to help policy-makers understand the different roles they can adopt towards street experiments and how this affects their capacity to cause system change.

How can street experiment impacts be measured and learned from?

Measuring the impacts of street experiments is important to understand and communicate their added value. Impacts can include effects on accessibility, mobility, citizen perspectives, and system change. Experiments have implications for the street where they occur, and the city as a whole. Our toolkit helps determine where to experiment and how to upscale.

How can users be involved in street experiments?

Street experiments involve different stakeholders, each with their own idea about how streets should be used. Involving users and having a better understanding of their preferences is crucial for the success of such initiatives. Our toolkit provides further knowledge on how to include citizen perspectives.

Find out
more
about EX-TRA

Tools
Research
Guidelines
Research

From “streets for traffic” to “streets for people”: can street experiments transform urban mobility?

This paper addresses the lack of research on the transformative potential of experiments aiming to create “streets for people.” It explores different types of city street experiments and their impacts on urban mobility. The experiments are categorized based on increasing complexity, ranging from re-marking streets to repurposing entire streets. Examples include intersection repairs, parklets, and play streets. The literature review highlights positive impacts on physical activity, active transportation, safety, and social interaction. However, the potential of these experiments to trigger systemic change in urban mobility remains uncertain. The paper develops a framework based on transition experiments to assess their transformative potential and proposes a research and policy agenda in this area.

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Research

Un indice per misurare la accessibilità di prossimità

The Inclusive Accessibility by Proximity Index (IAPI) measures accessibility to essential services using GIS, focusing on conditions that enhance or hinder walkability, cyclability, and social interactions at the neighbourhood level. Its implementation in Bologna allowed for mapping the quality of pedestrian and cycling routes, evaluating accessibility to neighbourhood services via active mobility, and assessing the impact of pedestrianization interventions on the quality of routes and public spaces. With its ease of calculation, transferable approach using open-source data, and the ability to update indicators and coefficients, IAPI can support the development of multi-sector policies at various scales.

Article published in Italian.

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Research

Fostering learning beyond urban experiment boundaries

This article examines lessons learned about how to foster learning beyond the experiment boundaries for transition through urban experiments. The synthesized strategy for learning appeared to help foster learning for unstable groups of participants with diverse backgrounds, who are more or less loosely involved but possibly can broaden or scale up the lessons learned.

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Research

Measuring accessibility by proximity for an inclusive city

Accessibility is crucial for social inclusion, influenced by transport systems, land use, temporal availability, and individual features. It measures people’s ability to engage in social life and activities contributing to their well-being. This paper introduces the Inclusive Accessibility by Proximity Index (IAPI), designed to assess accessibility to essential services and activities for local residents. IAPI considers the physical and perceptual characteristics of urban spaces and paths, reflecting different mobility needs and habits. It guides urban planning to promote walkability, cyclability, and active mobility, aiming for a sustainable and inclusive city. Using Bologna, Italy, as a testbed, the paper details the IAPI methodology, results, and steps for scalability and context sensitivity.

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Research

Making walking irresistible: enabling level-of-service measures to achieve their potential

Despite walking’s exceptional benefits, it receives surprisingly little attention. To address this, the potential of “level of service” (LOS) measures to highlight the status of walking is investigated. A literature survey on various LOS measures reveals their distinct evolutionary paths and the lack of true commensurability across modes. A micro-simulation modelling exercise suggests pedestrians fare worse than drivers, even where walking is promoted, confirming measurement anomalies across modes. The availability of “ideal speeds” is crucial for commensurability; thus, a critical assessment of “free-flow” speeds for vehicles proposes using sprinting speeds for pedestrians to gauge performance.

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Research

The value of street experiments for mobility and public life: Citizens’ perspectives from three European cities

‘Street experiments’ (SE) temporarily reallocate street space from traffic to people. Existing research often evaluates SE from upscaling or public acceptability perspectives, but few studies explore what citizens value about SE in everyday life. This paper addresses this gap by analyzing how 458 citizens value five SE parklets and plazas in London, Munich, and Bologna. Using an inductive, qualitative survey method, it identifies valued mobility and public life dimensions, considering use value and social meanings. The findings show citizens prioritize SE’s public life benefits—enhanced streetscape, public space availability, and social interaction—over active mobility benefits. This framework aids understanding citizen evaluations and informs better SE design.

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Research

Urban transport experimentation: a network or hybrid governance process?

This chapter examines the governance of urban transport experimentation, emphasizing the role of collaboration and partnerships beyond government for policy innovation. It explores two propositions: whether municipal governments should primarily enable activities by civil society and private actors, and if voluntary experiment partnerships with shared sustainability goals effectively co-create policy innovations. Using empirical research from 108 transport experiments in Bristol and New York City (1996-2016), it finds that non-state involvement and network partnerships can be crucial but are not essential. Instead, urban transport experimentation is better characterized as ‘hybrid governance,’ featuring multiple co-existing governance modes.

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Research

How Does Pedestrian Accessibility Vary for Different People? Development of a Perceived User-Specific Accessibility Measure for Walking (Paws)

Current accessibility measures often overlook the diverse needs of different user groups, leading to a mismatch between calculated and perceived accessibility. This paper proposes a new method that accounts for individual perceptions and walkability needs, developing Perceived user-specific Accessibility measures for Walking (PAWs) for seniors, children, women, and wheelchair users. By adjusting the Geo Open Accessibility Tool (GOAT) and using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), the most important walkability attributes are incorporated and weighted. Results from Munich reveal a nuanced understanding of pedestrian infrastructure, aiding urban planners in creating more inclusive, equitable environments that enhance quality of life and access to amenities.

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Research

Connecting people and places: Analysis of perceived pedestrian accessibility to railway stations by Bavarian case studies

Walking is crucial for connecting transport modes and accessing public transport. However, pedestrian accessibility to railway stations is often only measured by distance and time. This study examines factors influencing perceived pedestrian accessibility, addressing gaps between calculated and perceived accessibility. The literature review identified six key criteria: directness, simplicity, traffic safety, security, comfort, and built environment. Surveys in five Bavarian towns assessed these factors’ importance, revealing comfort, safety, and security as critical. Significant differences emerged between age groups and city sizes, highlighting the need for nuanced understanding in planning pedestrian access.

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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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Guidelines

StreetEcho toolkit: a how-to guide

StreetECHO Toolkit Guidance provides an overview of the tool and guidance for the engagement of citizens in street transformation. It initially explores concepts underpinning the development of the toolkit, particularly examining streets as convivial public spaces and the imperative of bringing citizen perspectives and knowledge into discussions on street planning and design processes. In emphasising the need for participatory processes, the report highlights the development of accessible digital tools as crucial pathways towards achieving these goals. After reviewing a series of such existing tools, the document introduces the novel StreetECHO toolkit, highlighting its added value and innovative features, and instructing readers on how it’s utilised.

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Guidelines

Assessing experiments: Citizens perceptions and values

This report presents results from a study that examines citizens’ perceptions and values regarding street experiments in three European cities: London, Munich, and Bologna. The aim of the research was to understand how citizens value different dimensions of street experiments and to provide insights into the design of effective and inclusive street interventions. The study posits that by understanding and incorporating citizens’ values and preferences, practitioners can design street experiment initiatives that are more effective, inclusive, and aligned with the needs and aspirations of the community.

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Guidelines

Accessibility by Proximity tool – A report on its application

This report provides an in-depth exploration of the GOAT implementation process as a planning tool in the five EX-TRA Cities: Amsterdam, Ghent, Munich, London, and Bologna. It offers a technical breakdown of the tool’s development and functionality and a comprehensive overview of the GOAT implementation journey in each city, complete with thorough analysis and resulting insights.

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Guidelines

D4AMS handbook: How and why to use and lessons learned

The main research findings into the development of the D4AMS tool are translated here into a policy guidelines document. This document contains the most relevant findings for local policymakers concerning the impact of street experiments and shared mobility solutions on mobility. It also delves deeper into the different case studies and the methodologies applied. The policy guidelines include some major quick wins and key elements to take into consideration. Additionally, it gives insights into scenario building through agent-based-modelling and how to deal with assumptions made in the model. The key takeaways of this document can be found on the ‘policy guidelines’ page on the dashboard.

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Guidelines

Analysis of barriers and enablers for street experiments

The urgent need to reduce emissions in light of climate change presents an acute challenge for urban areas clogged with private automobility. In combination with urban growth, a similarly pressing need for improved quality of life, including greener, safer and simply more public spaces is likewise at play in many
urban areas. To address these challenges, a ‘sustainability transition’. This report addresses the question “Which barriers and enablers for upscaling and transitions exist for city street experiments?”, through a two-part literature review.

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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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Research

The role of municipalities and their impact on the transitional capacity of city street experiments: Lessons from Ghent

City street experiments can drive systemic change in urban mobility but often face institutional barriers limiting their effectiveness. This paper examines how municipalities’ roles—promoter, enabler, and partner—affect the transitional capacity of street experiments. Using the Living Streets program in Ghent, Belgium as a case study, we find that municipal leadership and legitimacy, particularly in promoter and enabler roles, enhance transitional capacity in the early stages, especially for radical, contentious experiments. Provision of financial, material, and human resources is crucial regardless of role. We also discuss two dilemmas: whether street experiments should be temporary and if their low-risk nature can align with long-term urban mobility policies.

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Research

The value of street experiments for mobility and public life: Citizens’ perspectives from three European cities.

“Street experiments” (SE) reallocate street space from traffic to people through temporary interventions. Existing research often evaluates SE from upscaling or public acceptability perspectives, but few studies explore what citizens value in SE. This paper fills that gap by analyzing responses from 458 citizens about five SE parklets and plazas in London, Munich, and Bologna. Using an inductive and qualitative survey method, we identify ten value categories spanning functional, social, safety, environmental, and economic dimensions. Findings reveal that citizens primarily value SE for enhancing public life, attractiveness, and social interaction over the benefits of active mobility. Our framework aids in understanding qualitative evaluations and designing effective SE interventions.

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Research

From temporary arrangements to permanent change: Assessing the transitional capacity of city street experiments.

In response to acute urban mobility and livability challenges, city street experiments have emerged as a way to explore possible solutions for alternative futures. While the added value of these experiments to improve urban living conditions is widely acknowledged, their potential to stimulate larger system change remains unknown. This paper uses the defining characteristics of transition experiments and a multi-level perspective of transitions in order to assess the transitional capacity of city street experiments. We devise an assessment framework to systematically assess six case studies in Amsterdam and Munich, revealing emerging patterns of experimentation within urban mobility systems.

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Guidelines

A comparative typology of street experiments

Experimentation with city streets has emerged as a way to ‘try-out’ possible solutions to acute liveability challenges including air pollution, noise, traffic-related accidents, and road congestion. ‘City street experiments’ are intentional and temporary changes to the street use, regulation and form aimed at exploring system change in urban mobility (VanHoose et al., 2022). In doing so, street experiments aim to improve urban mobility by shifting from “streets for traffic towards streets for people” (Bertolini, 2020). We define five types of city street experiments: (1) re-marking streets, (2) re-purposing parking, (3) partial re-purposing of streets, (4) entire re-purposing of streets and (5) the flexible closure of streets. Amidst their wide diversity in form, aim and initiators, one feature binds city street experiments: their potential transitional capacity, or ‘ability to address fundamental social and environmental problems and achieve system change’ (VanHoose et al., 2022). In this report, we employ a framework for assessing the transitional capacity of street experiments to compare the different typologies in order to understand the dynamics of each type.

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