Recently, Drachten received international attention for a traffic experiment known as shared space, a concept pioneered by Hans Monderman. Almost all traffic lights and signs have been removed in the city centre in an effort to improve traffic safety, based on the theory that drivers pay more attention to their surroundings when they cannot rely on strict traffic rules. Previously the city centre had an average of 8 accidents per year. Since the new system was introduced in 2003, this has been reduced to effectively 0.
The German town of Bohmte adopted a similar scheme in September 2007.