Less cars and safer environments celebrated at conference

A scheme to make neighbourhoods in seven areas of the UK quieter and more car free has been hailed a success.

Transport charity Sustrans implemented a 'DIY Streets' project in 11 streets in London, South Wales, Coventry, Manchester, Sheffield, Torquay and Oxford.

The project encouraged communities in these areas to re-design their own streets affordably to make them safer, cleaner and more people-friendly. The scheme follows the successes of home zones and aims to create more attractive spaces at a lower cost and with communities driving the process.

A Sustrans conference in Bristol this week heard that slower traffic speeds, quieter streets and more attractive neighbourhoods were just some of the results from the pilot scheme.

Sustrans gathered interim results from six of the 11 streets through a residents' survey to determine the success of the scheme. 69% of residents agree that their street is greener and more attractive following the project and 76% feel there has been a reduction in the amount of traffic using their street.

Over half the residents surveyed also feel cars are moving slower past their homes and 43% believe their street is now a safer environment in which children can play. This result has increased significantly from 8% of residents before the project was carried out.

Residents involved in the projects include Adrian Holliday who lives in Hackney and is part of the Clapton Terrace Residents' Association. Commenting on the success of the project on his street, Adrian said: "There has been a real sense of enthusiasm among all residents in the neighbourhood and we have been delighted to see such improvements made to the safety and overall look of our street.”

Alexandra Allen, Project Director at Sustrans, said: "The whole team is really encouraged by such positive interim results. One of the main objectives of the scheme was to test whether we could achieve many of the benefits of home zones but in a cost-effective way. One of the key aspects we kept from home zones was having residents at the centre of the process.

"These results show us that residents are responding to the project in the same way as communities did to home zones, only less money has been spent in the re-design of urban areas through DIY Streets."

301 properties from the six DIY Streets were surveyed. Of the 301 properties, 138 responded before and 105 responded after the projects had been carried out.