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Drivers respect others in Home Zones

2 September 2011

Recent research from RoadSafe member IAM has shown that fifty-eight per cent of people think that drivers should be held legally responsible for accidents between cars and more vulnerable road users in pedestrian-priority zones, according to the latest poll by road safety charity the IAM.

The Home Zone concept, called woonerf, was pioneered in the 1970s in the Netherlands, since then many countries have successfully transferred the core concepts and created their own safe areas.

Home Zones are an attempt to strike a balance between vehicular traffic and everyone else who uses the street, the pedestrians, cyclists, business people and residents.

Woonerfs* are the most sophisticated of these zones, and are a concept which comes from the Netherlands where they are commonly used. They are designed to be used at walking pace to make them safer for more vulnerable road users and encourage cycling and walking.

In the research forty-eight per cent of the 4,000 respondents think the Woonerf concept – with no pavements, giving cars, pedestrians and cyclists equal use of the same road space – is a good idea for use in the UK, with 27 per cent thinking they are a bad idea. 

Shared Space and Home Zones are evolving all the time, so to help us learn from each other the IHE has provided an easy-to-use resource of case studies where you can search for new and retrofit development schemes in the UK.

At present there is no specific legislation supporting Home Zones in the UK. However the central British government has given it's support to nine pilot Home Zone schemes across England and Wales and the Scottish Parliament will be initiating 3 pilots in Scotland.

In addition to the pilot schemes there are many other local areas which are setting up and working towards the Home Zone ideals.  More information is available here.

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