Models for the interplay with surrounding urban space (Visual Graphic Analysis)

Visual graphic analysis allows for a configuration and visibility of the interchange’s immediate urban vicinity and public space. This is useful for checking the proposed walkability and pedestrian access of the interchange, including open public spaces and position of direction signs.

Space Syntax methodology provides a Visual Graphic Analysis (VGA), which can be run quickly thanks to Depthmap freeware. This tool helps to analyse many spatial variables, which enriches our knowledge of the physical configuration of spaces through many different insights.

However, technicians need to be familiar with the methodology in order to understand the spatial implications of each configuration.

This tool may be very useful for detecting problems in current configurations or choosing between future alternatives.

Also, this tool is useful for the optimal locating of various transport services and facilities: information desks, signs and panels, security, publicity, retail shops, waiting areas, etc.


NODES strategic objectiveContribution
Enhance accessibility and integration ++
Enhance intermodality ++
Enhance liveability ++
Increase safety and security conditions +
Increase economic viability and costs efficiency +
Stimulate local economy +
Increase environmental efficiency 0
Increase energy efficiency 0

Good practice

VGA performs well for both indoor complex spaces (Victoria & Albert Museum: http://www.spacesyntax.com/project/victoria-and-albert-museum/) and open urban spaces (Woolwich Squares: http://www.spacesyntax.com/project/woolwich-squares/).

Application in NODES sites:

This tool has not been tested by any NODES city, since they have not considered it useful at their current stage of development or for their specific cases.

For instance, Birmingham notes that “there are limitations if there is a complicated local road network with under/overpasses and also and has less use for existing interchanges where there may be limited scope for significant highway or structural changes”.


Potential interchange performance improvement

Visual Graphic Analysis allows improving the interchange urban integration, guiding pedestrian in & out flows and access in a coherent, proper way according to the spatial configuration of urban spaces and the interchange design. The optimal location of different facilities and people may be quantified as:

– Higher demand for travel, due to better spatial accessibility for attracting travellers and added to their travelling comfort.

–  Better economic performance of retail and services in the urban context of the interchange interface, which might form the base for a better business revenue process.

–  Reducing the number of users who become lost, and providing the necessary information and direction signs through improved direction-finding.

Improved performance of transport services and facilities: information desks, signs and panels, security, publicity, retail shops, waiting areas, etc.


Resources

–  An expert in the methodology and software is required during the process and for the interpretation of results.

–  Software is currently open for free use.

–  Costs assigned to authority in charge of physical planning/design.

References

www.spacesyntax.com (consultancy)

www.spacesyntax.org (academic research)

A concise explanation of this tool can also be found in NODES Deliverable 3.2.2. (pages 37-39).

Link to software download.