The Brussels public transport company STIB is trying out two new types of tram stop – the "hourglass stop" and the "Vienne stop" – in the municipality of Schaerbeek, with a view to rolling them out across the Capital Region in the future.
Over the last decade, STIB has seen a rise both in passenger numbers and multimodality (people using different modes of transport, such as scooters, trams and bicycles, instead of taking the car), public space must be adapted to the new situation.
As a result, STIB is experimenting with mixed traffic and setting up a new type of stop on the Avenue de la Reine (Liedts stop) in Schaerbeek and on Avenue Rogier (Wijnheuvelen/Coteaux stop). At first glance, they look alike but there is a difference, STIB spokesperson An Van Hamme told Bruzz.
"The Liedts stop is a Viennese stop (also called platform stop), meaning that the stop and the road are on the same level, while the tram runs in its own lower bed," she explained. "That gives a strange feeling when getting off the tram, because you actually end up on the road where cars are allowed to drive and the stop is on the same level."
More comfort and space
By properly phasing the traffic lights, no cars are allowed to drive by when the tram stops. So far, this has not resulted in any accidents involving pedestrians. However, some cars have reportedly "fallen" into the deeper bed of the tram line, because they had to avoid pedestrians.
"What is certain is that the Viennese stop is only possible if there is little through traffic," said van Hamme. "That is the case at Liedts because the train tunnel a little lower is closed to cars."
At Wijnheuvelen/Coteaux, an "hourglass stop" has been installed, meaning cars do drive on the tram bed, while the stop itself provides mixed traffic for cyclists and pedestrians.
Busy tram stops have often become too narrow for the many waiting commuters, but this stop provides the comfort and space to get off the tram more easily. Additionally, this is also a good solution for cyclists because they do not have to ride in the tram bed.
While it is still a bit early for an evaluation, for the time being, STIB's preference is going to the hourglass stop, said van Hamme.