Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Norman Garrick, Carol Atkinson-Palombo, Nicholas Lownes

Field of Study

Civil Engineering


Master of Science

Open Access

Open Access


Shared space, a street design philosophy which aims to improve the mobility of nonmotorized users by deemphasizing the priority given to automobiles, has received much international attention within the last decade. Today, shared spaces can be found across the world as planners and decision-makers look to different street design schemes as a way of providing much-needed public space to urbanized populations. Despite their growing popularity, rigorous evaluations of how shared spaces operate are rather limited. Advocates of shared space argue that this design approach reduces vehicle speeds, reduces vehicle delay, reduces the potential severity of pedestrian-vehicle conflicts, and improves the mobility of non-motorized users in these design schemes, among other benefits. Critics argue that some users—especially those who are disabled—find shared space to be difficult to navigate. One particularly prominent gap in the literature is a framework to classify the now numerous flavors of shared space that have emerged around the world. This thesis presents a methodology to classify shared space according to 17 separate design elements and contextual variables such as traffic, land-use, and physical design. The classification scheme is operationalized with data from 132 shared spaces around the world, producing six distinct types of environment. The classification system illustrates the variety of ways in which shared space is being implemented around the world, paving the way for a more nuanced discussion of how different types of shared space function.

Major Advisor

Norman Garrick