Zuidplein is regarded as one of the most important transfer points of public transport in the region. It is the center of Rotterdam-Zuid, which includes Zuidplein bus and metro station (OV-hub), Zuidplein shopping center, Ahoy and the Ikazia hospital. On a weekday, an average of 40,000 people travel by bus to and from Zuidplein. The metro station has around 35,000 passenger movements per day. The Zuidplein shopping center attracts around 29,000 visitors daily, more than 9,000 of them arrive by bicycle or on foot. To make this travel experience better, the Municipality of Rotterdam has a vision to improve spatial and transfer quality at the Zuidplein OV-hub. They envision that this will not only enhance the experience of space but also result in longer stay-times that will lead to economic spin-off. They also wish to stimulate the bicycle usage in the region.
In order to be able to demonstrate the effects of future interventions, there is a need for a baseline measurement. During Nov 2018 - January 2019, research was undertaken by Veldacademie on the transition experience and bicycle use at Zuidplein OV-hub, to establish this baseline and provide key-insights on the user experience. This research was conducted on behalf of the Gemeente Rotterdam (Municipality of Rotterdam).
This measurement consists of three parts: a habitat analysis, a smart survey with qualitative and quantitative data on the transfer experience and an inventory of bicycle use with quantitative and qualitative data. As with other research projects conducted by the Veldacademie,students from different educational institutions were involved in the execution of the research. In the habitat analysis, the facilities at Zuidplein have been inventoried in various areas such as education, care, traffic and transport in the area and displayed transparently via a map. The smart survey reached well over 300 people. They were questioned about their transfer experience, bicycle use and overall assessment of the station area. The respondents were exclusively commuters and passers-by at the Zuidplein OV-hub. The demographic of the respondents was diverse, spread in age, gender and ethnic origin. Furthermore, the inventory of the bicycles was conducted over seven days to document correctly-parked bicycles in designated areas and incorrectly parked bicycles to demonstrate the capacity of the assigned bicycle racks versus the demand for additional racks. The quantitative measurements took place in the Zuidplein, Gooilandsingel, Sallandweg and Metroplein areas.
Analysis of the results showed thereis insufficient bicycle parking places for cyclists using the Zuidplein OV-Knoop. On average nearly 40% of bikes were parked illegally. Furthermore, data revealed that bicycle use is relatively low: only 25% of the respondents use a bicycle in their commute every day. People cite a variety of reasons in favor and against, ranging from personal preference to inability to cycle. The OV-station Zuidplein scored higher in functionality than appearance. There is a need for renewal of the environment. The perception of safety at Zuidplein OV-Knoop is also low, particularly at night for women.
For the future
Based on the data analysis and insights, Veldacademie has made a series of recommendations. One of which is to improve the spatial quality of the OV-Knoop which can increase the stay-times in the station area. A multi-layered approach is recommended with programmatic, spatial and better maintenance solutions. These changes should ideally include new programs to address the low ratings after sun-down. Spatial changes like additional seating, more greenery and design for more natural-light are also recommended. Additionally, maintenance services need to be improved. Furthermore, Veldacademie also proposed centralized cycling facilities in addition to improving efficiency of on-street parking to stimulate cycle usage. A central hub like the Zuidplein area should have the option of long-term secure parking facilities where users can be made aware of parking availability (number of racks), electric cycle charging points, electric and normal cycle renting options, repair facilities etc.
Veldacademie also believes that more research needs to be undertaken to identify a range of the cyclist’s motivations (like security, easy way-finding, etc.) with respect to Zuidplein and its surroundings and further investigation is required for future program at the OV-Knoop.
The report with the results of the Hart van Zuid 2019: Onderzoek naar de overstapbeleving en het fietsgebruik in het Hart van Zuid in Rotterdam (only available in Dutch) can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. You can also order a hard-copy.