Between 1999 and 2004, nine pilot home zone schemes were implemented (and evaluated) in selected UK locations.
The nine schemes were in Ealing (London), Lambeth (London), Leeds, Manchester, Magor Village (Wales), Nottingham, Peterborough, Plymouth and Sittingbourne (Kent). All of the nine schemes chosen were built within exisiting residential areas (i.e. ‘retro fit’ schemes) although, varied in specific characteristics such as size, layout and measures implemented.
The Transport Research Laboratory was commisioned by the UK Department for Transport to evaluate the pilot schemes. The evaluation began in 1999 with ‘Before surveys’, the major part of the consultation exercise, scheme design and construction took place between spring 2000 and spring 2004 and ‘After’ evaluations were conducted according to when individual schemes were completed . Both before and after evaluations involved interview surveys with adults and children, collection of traffic flow, traffic speed and accident data and video recording.
Each of the schems were evaluated according to the following factors
- Improvements in quality of life and appearance of the streets for residents
- Reductions in speeds in the home zones
- Diversion of non-essential vehicles within the zones
- Reductions in air pollution and noise
- Perceived imprvements in community safety
Although, results varied at different sites, collectively the following results were obtained
- Mean traffic speeds were reduced on average by about 5mph, to less than 15 mph within the zones
- Average traffic flows were reduced at all of the schemes
- 73% of all residents throught the appearance of streets had imporved
- Perceived reductions in air pollution and traffic noise was reported (at most) sites
- Walking within home zone was viewed as ‘more pleasant’
- An increase in the time spent outside by adults and greater willingness for parents to allow children to play outside
The key success factor for the pilot schemes could be attributed to effective community participation, which required all, or a minimum of two of the following:
- A champion within the local authority, who remains with the project from inception to completion to ensure continuity, be a point of contact for residents and other stakeholders, and keep the pressure on within the authority in terms of funding and resources.
- A strong external facilitator independent of the residents and the council, who is able to build up and maintain a good rapport with the local community, stakeholders and authority.
- Strong residents’ or tenants’ groups,who are able to accurately represent the views of the whole community.
The initial success of these pilot schemes resulted led to the UK government launching a £30 million Home Zone Challenge fund to further develop the home zone concept throughout the UK, leading to a further 61 schemes being developed.
Further information: More comprehensive evaluation of the nine pilot schemes is available at the Transport Research Laboratory website- www.trl.co.uk/