Kenniscentrum voor fietsbeleid
  • 1. Shared-space roundabout Drachten

    Drachten, Laweiplein, shared-space roundabout. Laweiplein is one of the best-known examples of shared space at a busy intersection. By regulating as little as possible, traffic participants would be encouraged to assume more responsibility for their own behaviour. Laweiplein has drawn national and international attention from traffic engineers and others.



  • 2. Location

    Laweiplein is located to the south of the Drachten central shopping district. Laweiplein roundabout is part of a kind of ring road around the shopping district. Another well-known example of shared space, De Kaden intersection, is also located on this.

  • 3. Traffic flows

    Over 18,000 motor vehicles and 5,000 cyclists use the roundabout daily. The flow of motor vehicles is mainly east to west and vice versa. Bicycle intensities are evenly divided over the various legs. By far most cyclists ride straight ahead. The roundabout also is of major importance to public transport. Almost all regional buses use the roundabout. At peak times this means approximately 10 buses per hour. 

  • 4. Old situation

    In the old situation traffic on Laweiplein was regulated by means of traffic lights. The design of the intersection was tailored to this purpose: separate direction lanes for cars and even bicycles, overflow bike paths, advanced positioning areas for cyclists, traffic islands and pedestrians crossings.



  • 5. The shared-space roundabout

    In 2003 Laweiplein was redesigned in accordance with shared-space principles. By regulating as little as possible, traffic participants would be encouraged to assume more responsibility for their own behaviour. And the design should contribute to the quality of public space (and the local economy) without affecting the traffic function. To this purpose two fountains have been constructed whose height increases with increasing numbers of motor vehicles. (At the time of the visit the fountains were not in operation).



  • 6. In accordance with recommendations

    Although the basic principle was to regulate as little as possible, a number of additional traffic measures have been taken. Essentially the intersection is a ‘normal’ roundabout with a central island and an obligatory anti-clockwise direction of the traffic. Priority arrangements are in favour of cars and bicycles on the roundabout. This solution conforms therefore in essence to the standard recommendations for intersections of two local roads within towns.



  • 7. No separation of pedestrian and bike paths

    A major distinguishing feature of the roundabout is the fact that there is no separation between cyclists and pedestrians. The approach roads do have bicycle lanes, but as soon as cyclists enter the roundabout they meet a bricked space to be shared with pedestrians. The sign bike path is absent, so technically cyclists could use the lanes as well.

  • 8. Freedom for cyclists

    In the bricked space cyclists may comfortably choose their own way (cut corners, wide turns), except for the north-west quadrant. There is no room there as a bank building lies close to the roundabout. There cyclists have to make a tight turn to the left in order to follow the roundabout.



  • 9. The bicycle crossings

    The bicycle crossings (approx. 2 metres wide) have been executed in bricks (instead of the usual red asphalt) between two wide bands. The crossings are not raised, although the use of bands does give the impression that they are at a somewhat higher level. The sole markings are give-way markings (no blocks). The sign ‘yield’ is also absent.

  • 10. Detail bicycle crossings

    A rather unfortunate detail of the bicycle crossings is the drain located at the very corner. Particularly in the north-west quadrant, where cyclists have to make a tight turn due to lack of space, cyclists regularly end up in the drain. At the very location where they should be able to focus exclusively on the interaction with motorists.

  • 11. Pedestrian crossing at a distance

    On all approaches wide pedestrians crossings have been realised, often at some distance from the roundabout. The original design contained no pedestrian crossings, as this somewhat contravenes the principle to regulate as little as possible. As a result of public comments, however, it was decided to add pedestrian crossings anyway.

  • 12. Some chaos on the bicycle crossing

    Many pedestrians, however, use the bicycle crossings instead of the pedestrian crossings, as these are more inviting (closer to the roundabout). This results sometimes in a rather chaotic situation on the bicycle crossing, particularly when there are also cyclists going against traffic.

  • 13. Priority behaviour

    Cyclists on the roundabout have the right of way and in almost cases this is observed by motorists approaching or leaving the roundabout, according to an evaluation by Noordelijke Hogeschool Leeuwarden (NHL). Over 95 per cent of cyclists continue on their way without having to stop. This exemplary traffic behaviour can most certainly be attributed in part to the low speed of motor vehicles.



  • 14. Extending left hand

    Cyclists wanting to continue on the roundabout in most cases extend their left hand (so motorists can see they have to yield). The percentage of cyclists extending their left hand is considerably higher (70 to 80%) on legs with a lot of motor vehicles than on legs with less traffic (approx. 50%). It is a familiar phenomenon on other roundabouts elsewhere in the country as well that cyclists indicate their intentions better when it is busy and they are in close proximity to motor vehicles.

  • 15. Extending right hand

    A considerable number of cyclists also extend their right hand on leaving the roundabout. According to the regulations cyclists leaving a roundabout should indeed do so, but the self-interest is minor. This is mainly an act of courtesy towards motorists, indicating there is no need to yield. This type of indication also occurs more frequently on the busy legs (40 to 50% of cyclists) than on the less busy legs (approx. 10%), according to the NHL evaluation.

  • 16. Low speed

    Due to the large volume of traffic speeds are in general quite low. During the afternoon peak hour there are almost always queues on the approaches. At that time the east leg is busiest. According to Omni-X calculations average waiting time on this leg is 37 seconds (I/C value 0,91). The observations in the NHL-study reveal on the other hand that actual average waiting times are somewhat shorter (less than 24 seconds). Despite the heavy load delays for cars and buses have almost halved in comparison to the previous situation (traffic lights).

  • 17. No traffic islands

    On the approach roads no traffic islands have been implemented, as usual in roundabouts with comparable intensities. Traffic islands provide a rest to cyclists, giving them an opportunity to dare to exercise their right of way. Moreover, a traffic island increases handling capacity since approaching motorists can ascertain sooner whether cars will be leaving the roundabout. An advantage of the solution employed here, without traffic islands, is that the approach road need not be as wide (approx. 6 metres). If necessary large lorries may use the oncoming lane. Overall, this presents a more compact and less technical picture.

  • 18. Central island

    The central island, too, is somewhat smaller than usual in roundabouts with comparable intensities. Since no traffic islands have been used on the approach roads, a smaller central island will suffice, according to CROW recommendations. The central islands sports a hillock, so traffic can only survey a small part of the roundabout. The surmountable area is relatively small and steep.



  • 19. Low bands

    The difference in height between lanes and the pedestrian/bicycle areas is limited (approx. 5 cm). In principle lorries and cars may easily swerve onto the pedestrian/bicycle areas, but in actual practice this happens only rarely.



  • 20. Loading zone

    The bicycle/pedestrian areas are seldom used by cars for loading and unloading. There are no physical barriers.

  • 21. Lighting


    As a result of the aim to improve the quality of the public space, a lot of attention has been paid to the lighting. The number of light towers has been limited as much as possible. The central island contains a tower in a nondescript colour. The lampposts in the pedestrian/bicycle areas are modest.



  • 22. Evaluation

    The NHL evaluation questioned users about their opinions on this roundabout, before and after reconstruction. In particular the quality of public space and traffic circulation are felt to have improved. Over half of all respondents judge these aspects to be good. Traffic safety, however, is felt to have worsened. Only 17 per cent feel traffic safety to be good. Accident records, however, demonstrate the number of casualties has decreased (although the numbers were not high in the old situation either).

  • 23. Details

    A number of details have been changed on the basis of the evaluation. Various differences in height proved to be treacherous. Extra lighting has made this more visible.



  • 24. Eight differences in traffic engineering

    A list of the eight differences with the standard roundabout:

    1. No separation between bicycle and pedestrian areas;

    2. Bicycle crossing in bricks instead of red asphalt. No block markings;

    3. Pedestrian crossing at a distance instead of next to bicycle crossing;

    4. Only 4x sign Obligatory direction of traffic. Signs Give way, Pedestrian crossing, Pass traffic island on the right, and Obligatory bike path have not been used. Right of way only regulated by give-way markings;

    5. Compact central island without surmountable area;

    6. No traffic island with anticipatory marking. Therefore less width needed;

    7. A single light tower on central island in nondescript colour and a number of modest lampposts instead of eight light towers, half of which would be painted blue-white as a result of signposting;

    8. Small differences in height instead of 12 cm high bands.



Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Gerlach, Drs. Rob Methorst, Dipl.-Ing. Dirk Boenke, cand.-Ing. Jens Leven
Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jürgen Gerlach, Drs. Rob Methorst, Dipl.-Ing. Dirk Boenke, cand.-Ing. Jens Leven
A contribution to make a popular design philosophy more objective
Evaluation of the reconstruction in to a square with roundabout
ing. R.R. van der Velde, ing. E. Bos , Grontmij, Gemeente Haren
In de afgelopen jaren is er veel aandacht besteed aan het implementeren van het concept Shared Space in vraagstukken op het gebied van ruimtelijke inrichting. Het Shared Space project in Haren heeft kunnen rekenen op veel internationale belangstelling.
Royal Haskoning , Royal Haskoning
In dit boekje vindt u een aantal voorbeelden van ontwerpen door Royal Haskoning in het gebied waar de verkeersfunctie de verblijfsfunctie ontmoet.
Municipality of Emmen (NL), Province of Fryslân (NL), Municipality of Haren (NL), Municipality of Bohmte (G), Suffolk County Council (UK), Municipality of Middelfart (DK), City of Ostend (B) , Interreg IIIB project Shared Space
Shared Space is a simple phrase. It was coined at the outset of the Interreg-project, providing both a title and a broader vocabulary with which to address a complex set of issues arising across the European Union. Largely as a result of the project, the phrase is now widely used and recognized around the world. In common with all language, the meaning of the term ‘Shared Space’ is evolving as experience is gained and knowledge expands.
Shared Space defines a set of integrated ideas about people, movement and public space. In this evaluation some of the pilot projects are reviewed.
Rob Methorst , Rijkswaterstaat, DVS
Een kritische beschouwing van Rob Methorst, afgeleid van de Duitstalige beschouwing over Shared Space
Theo Zeegers (-)
19-05-2008 @ 11:36

Druk, wat is druk. Kan iemand intensiteitcijfers leveren ?

Verder is de kritiek al bekend: asfalt voor auto's en fietsers over klinkers. Wel vernieuwend, geen verbetering.

Otto van Boggelen (CROW-Fietsberaad)
19-05-2008 @ 17:16

In reactie op Theo Zeegers: in plaatje 3 staan de intensiteiten

Joost Verhoeven (Goudappel Coffeng BV)
02-06-2008 @ 12:38

Met alle respect, maar door de vorm en de aanwezigheid van zebramarkering is dit feitelijk een merkwaardig vormgegeven voorrangsrotonde. De voordelen ontgaan mij. Ter plaatse valt op dat fietsers en voetgangers dezelfde ruimte moeten delen en elkaar daar soms ook in de weg zitten, terwijl de auto een eigen asfaltbaan heeft.

04-06-2008 @ 09:02

Ik heb anderhalf jaar geleden met Hans Monderman rondjes gelopen op deze rotonde. Wat een rust ging er uit van de bewegingen van het verkeer. We konden onbelemmerd doorlopen. En waar zie ik zo veel fietsers hun hand uit steken? Later heb ik dat rondlopen nog een keer gedaan. Nu zonder Hans. Zelfde beeld. Het lag dus niet aan hem, maar we hebben deze oplossing wel aan hem te danken.

Peter H. Smit (Rover)
01-12-2008 @ 13:54

Hoe bevallen de klinkers bij glad weer?

Ria Glas (Fietsersbond)
11-08-2010 @ 22:43

Het effect van het "neerkrikken" van dit kruispunt vind ik fantastisch. Weinig ruimte voor verkeer, veel verblijfsruimte. Rustig verkeer, kom er eens om! Compact vormgeven kan dus ook bij veel verkeer heel goed.

Fietsen op de stoep en voetgangers op het fietspad wordt over en weer niet gewaardeerd. Drachten heeft waarschijnlijk weinig snorfietser, die wil je helemaal niet op de stoep hebben. Klinkers voor de fiets en asfalt voor de auto's valt ook niet onder goed fietsbeleid.

Als fietser heb ik daarnaast een flinke aversie tegen randjes van een paar cm. Als je er niet op let kun je er tegenaanfietsen en ga je zó onderuit. Als je op de randjes let, kun je niet op het verkeer letten - ook niet fijn op drukke plekken.

Een gewone rotonde, gemengd of met stroken (compact, zodat het verkeer rustig rijdt) lijkt me toch plezieriger.

Gare Henderson (Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.)
05-08-2012 @ 22:33

In the Washington DC area of the US, it seems that everything to control traffic has been tried.  Signs of all type, traffic circles, speed tables, etc. to various affects on traffic, pedestrians, and businesses.  Now the new trend is traffic cameras, and un-marked cars.  However, it seems to me that the red queen effect is always the dominant stakeholder. (You have to run fast just to stay in the same place).  People are smart, crafty, and resistant to control.  The question, in my view, is there some fundamental error in the design of traffic control systems that engenders such solid resistance?   As a driver I feel that the error may be the inaccuracy, general nature, or one size fits all circumstances of most traffic control systems.  I mostly drive at night, on deserted streets, but I am still forced to behave as if it were rush hour.  Yet when the roads are full and its pouring rain, I still feel forced by other drivers to maintain a reasonable speed.  As automation finally reaches the drivers seat I hope that we will be able to move toward "honest" traffic control which is condition based.

Until that Utopian future, of emotionless robot drivers, emerges the engineers at my company Gravitational Systems Engineering have devised several smart traffic control devices that are worth consideration.   Our devices called speed sponges, appear as green speed bumps but they are completely soft and collapse when encountered at safe speeds.  However, when one of these devices is triggered by a speeder, it remains firm and slows the vehicle.  They come in both embedded and surface mounted models, but in each instance they can not only stop unsafe behavior based upon road conditions, but they also force drivers to think.

Gare Henderson,

Gravitational Systems Engineering, Inc.


Theo Zeegers (-)
07-08-2012 @ 09:27

I am sorry to say, I don't feel comfortable with contributions by commercial parties not backed up by independent survey.

Moreover, I fail to see what the subject has to do with the original one and I fail to see how the product promoted is an improvement on the conventional speed bumpers, from a cyclists point of view. After all, this website is not about car driving.....

Ria Glas (Fietsersbond)
23-04-2014 @ 22:18

De rotonde ligt er nu een tijdje. De registratie van ongevallen is natuurlijk niet volledig.

David Hembrow geeft in zijn blog de resultaten voor deze rotonde en andere shared-space situaties qua ongevalsaantallen. Leerzaam!

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