Southville Home Zone evaluation study

Project details

Full project title: Southville Home Zone evaluation study

Sponsors: Bristol City Council

Project Manager: Dr Graham Parkhurst

Project team: Dr Kiron Chatterjee and Dr Henrietta Sherwin

Start date: November 2005

Finish date: May 2006

Project briefing sheet: Download the briefing sheet document (PDF)

Project report: Download the final project report (PDF)

Project summary

The Southville Home Zone (HZ) is one of sixty-one demonstration HZs established throughout the UK as part of a Department for Transport initiative to improve the quality of life for residents in streets where vehicles tended to dominate. £30 million was allocated to the HZ Challenge Fund and the Southville implementation was the outcome of a successful bid to the fund by Bristol City Council.

The Department for Transport describes HZs "as residential streets in which the road space is shared between the drivers of motor vehicles and other road users, with the wider needs of residents (including people who walk and cycle, and children) in mind. The aim is to change the ways that streets are used and to improve the quality of life in residential streets by making them places for people, not just for traffic".

This evaluation contributes to the national evidence base about the benefits of HZ development; particularly as Southville is a relatively affluent neighbourhood and most retrofit HZs have been justified in terms of social policy and urban regeneration objectives.

The evaluation found that the Southville scheme was recognised by the majority of immediate residents and near neighbours of the HZ as having brought identifiable environmental, social and behavioural benefits but arriving at these outcomes is shown to be a complex, difficult and expensive process. As a demonstration project it succeeded, but perhaps also raised the expectations of adjoining streets, who would like similar treatment. Given the considerable cost this is not likely to be forthcoming, at least for the foreseeable future.

The research suggests that retro-fit schemes are difficult to implement and costly and therefore it might be better to direct this kind of public investment towards neighbourhoods in need of urban regeneration. The need for the private sector to be encouraged or required to implement HZ principles in new-build housing areas is also emphasised.