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Concept - What are home zones?

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.

Some see Home Zones as a way of "reclaiming" local streets from a traditional domination by cars. Others see it more modestly as a way of trying to restore the safety and peace in neighbourhoods that are becoming overwhelmed with speeding traffic.

Home Zones work through the physical alteration of streets and roads in an area. These alterations force motorists to drive with greater care and at lower speeds. Many countries support this with legislation allowing the Home Zones to enforce a reduced speed limit of 10 miles an hour. The benches, flower beds, play areas, lamp posts, fences and trees used to alter the streets and roads offer many additional community benefits to the Home Zones and are considered to enhance the beauty of an area and increase the housing prices.

Hoornsehof NL

Home Zones, while on the surface offer substantial benefits to and area, are the source of some controversy. It has been reported that such schemes have delayed the response rates of the emergency services to the streets within the Zone. Other reports describe local authorities being inundated with complaints from residents demanding that the road humps and chicanes be removed as they are causing huge tailbacks through the streets. People have shown concern that encouraging children to play in roads, even specially adapted roads such as Home Zones, has introduced a danger which was not previously there. It has also been reported that the residents of a home zone in America are actively campaigning to have the road alterations removed as they can no longer park near their houses.

The success of a Home Zone scheme is not just dependant on effective and well thought out plans, but also requires the whole community being encouraged to get involved from the start.

Please select a flag to find out more information about the Home Zones in that country.

United Kingdom The Netherlands Germany
United Kingdom The Netherlands Germany
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