The concept of shared road space within a residential area, commonly known as a 'Home Zone', originated in the Netherlands and has spread to other parts of Europe such as Germany and Scandinavia. The main principle of a Home Zone is that road space is shared between motor vehicles and other road users, with priority being given to the needs of pedestrians, including children, and cyclists. The concept brings transport and environmental objectives together, changing the residential street to a valued outdoor space, where adults and children can walk, cycle, play and interact in a safe and secure manner. Community support for a Home Zone is integral to its success, as one of the main benefits is enhancement of quality of life for its residents. Home Zones can therefore be seen as a means to encourage social inclusion, increase physical fitness, reduce road casualties and regenerate urban areas. In November 1999, the Scottish Executive Minister for Transport and the Environment announced that the effectiveness of trial Home Zones in Scotland would be evaluated.
The main aim of the study is to evaluate the effectiveness of four Home Zone case study schemes in Scotland, with the general objectives of:
- Compare the before and after situation in each scheme using measures such as traffic flow, speed, pollution, noise, travel patterns, parking, drivers' and residents' views and activities. Motoring indicators should be devised as proxy measures of quality of life for residents;
- Monitor the development of each scheme including the type and extent of consultation between the local authority and the resident community, and the extent of community participation and support for the scheme. Community support is a crucial element in the success of a scheme and will be a key part of the evaluation process;
- Assess the transferability of traffic management measures and techniques introduced to change the way a street is used, to other Home Zone schemes; and
- Assess whether the aims and benefits of Home Zones can be achieved within the existing legal framework and, if not, identify whether there is a need for additional or amended legislation to achieve such aims.
The research is divided into four main elements:
- Before studies,
- Process monitoring,
- After studies and
- Final evaluation.
Differences in the nature and development of the 4 schemes means that the approach will require to be tailored accordingly but should fit within a general agreed research framework designed to meet the objectives of the study. Different timescales operate in each of the schemes, some of which extend over several years. The research has therefore been contracted in stages with progress reviews at key points.
Implications will become available at the completion of the project.