Home Zones - a Step Towards Europe
JONES P, WSP Development Ltd and CHILDS R, Halerow Fox, UK
Home Zones is the UK term for a residential area in which pedestrians, cyclists and motofised traffic all have equal status. Vulnerable road users are able to use all of the road space, and are not confined to footways at the side of a vehicular carriagew
Home Zones is the UK term for a residential area in which pedestrians, cyclists and motofised traffic all have equal status. Vulnerable road users are able to use all of the road space, and are not confined to footways at the side of a vehicular carriageway. Indeed, one of the key features of Home Zones is that the traditional demarcation between footway and carriageway is not normally present, as this arrangement tends to reinforce the perception of car drivers that they have the fight to pass through the area unhindered.
Speed management is also a key requirement, with target speeds of well below 20mph. Street furniture, defined areas of car parking and soft landscaping are all used to break up the shared surface, making the vehicle path tortuous, whilst enhancing the streetscape.
The concept of Home Zones was developed in continental Europe, initially in the Netherlands, where the term 'Woonerf' is used (literally 'living yard'). Home Zones are also common throughout Denmark, Germany and Austria. A key feature of continental Home Zones is that all road users have equal status by law. Traffic signs defining the beginning and end of Home Zones are erected, within which a responsibility is placed upon drivers to avoid conflict with pedestrians and cyclists.
The benefits claimed for Home Zones go well beyond transport-related issues such as speed and accident reduction, into 'quality of life' considerations. Without fear from traffic, residents are said to be able to use the public realm to interact socially, developing a stronger sense of community. These effects are particularly important for children, who are than able to meet and play safely in public areas. This is in contrast to many residentiaI areas, where fear of traffic leads parents to deny children the fight to play outside.
Association for European Transport