National transport conference celebrates DIY Streets success

Slower traffic speeds, quieter streets and more attractive neighbourhoods are just some of the results from a pilot scheme has been celebrated at a Bristol-based conference held by sustainable transport charity, Sustrans.

The conference has reviewed the work and results of Sustrans' DIY Streets pilot projects carried out in London , South Wales, Coventry , Manchester , Sheffield, Torquay and Oxford.

Launched in 2007, the 11 pilot projects have 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.

Sustrans has 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.

"The volume of trolley bins and rubbish on Clapton Terrace was the biggest problem for all residents. Through the project, we replaced 53 trolley bins with a few communal rubbish bins which made a huge difference to the appearance 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."

Peter Lipman, Policy Director at Sustrans and keynote speaker at the conference, said: "The evaluation results will help Sustrans shape the next steps ahead for achieving its vision of creating safer and more attractive streets in communities across the UK . Safer streets mean a greater sense of community engagement, more children enjoying play activities outside, and better walking and cycling conditions in local areas."

The Sustrans scheme has been part-funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, local authorities and housing associations along with additional funding from Transport For London for projects carried out in the Capital.