2005 Streets Ahead CCN / CTC Autumn Conference in Warrington 12th November 2005.

The Chief Highways Officer of Hilden, Nordrhein, Germany gives a presentation for which this is the script. See Warrington Cycle Campaign website for the slides.

The original script PDF can be downloaded here.

Promoting Cycling in Hilden

David Holman’s notes on the presentation given by Lutz Groll , Hilden Chief Highways Engineer.


Hilden is a town in the Rühr region of Germany between Dusseldorf, Wuppertal and Cologne [Köln]. It is twinned with Warrington. The town has c. 57 000 inhabitants and wishes to have its own identity even though it has merged into the Rühr conurbation. The city council achieves this through innovative transport planning. http://www.hilden.de/


Safe mobility – change of pace without risks.

Speed and speeding – concentrated effort over the last 15 years to reduce effects of speeding traffic.

Speed difference – the car is fastest AND the highest source of danger. Buses and trams are second and cycles are relatively fast. BUT WE ARE ALL PEDESTRIANS so they get priority.

Hilden believes in area wide traffic calming for successful promotion of cycling.

Three quarters of the town’s streets are “Tempo Dreizig” 30 km/hr speed limited. There are between thirty and forty traffic calmed home zones.

Hilden decided to convert all its residential areas to Tempo Dreizig [Tempo 30] . There is constant monitoring of traffic calmed streets to assess average vehicle speeds. Speed limits have been reduced on some of the busiest Hauptvehkehrstrasse where 15000 vehicles per day go through.

Cycling before the widespread use of area wide traffic calming was 10% of all trips. Now it makes up 15% overall and 24% in the city centre. 59% of all trips in Hilden city centre are by walking and cycling.


Typical 30 km/hr street

Reduced width of streets by 2 metres leaving 5 metre wide lane for 2-way traffic. Cars must negotiate to get along.

Planting of trees and creating parking bays.

Lutz was very proud of the now mature conifer tree that he’d planted in the middle of a crossroads! It introduced the right amount of uncertainty so that car drivers took extra care.

In home zones design speeds are reduced to 4 – 7 km/hr .

Around primary schools especially severe traffic calming is used to reduce road widths to 4 metres. It is more important to make it easy for young children to cross the roads than e.g. provide for easy cycling.


Communicate Tempo 30 zones to all households

Tell each affected street’s residents when the work was to commence.

Community groups included

More work in telling local people when it’s a Home Zone

German Federal Law ensures that the residents pay 50 – 90% of the street conversion costs. The bargain here is that Home Zones make the neighbourhood more attractive and property values increase as a result.

Planners must not be deterred by Safe Streets. Lutz said, “People who complain of seconds of delay due to traffic calming cannot be taken seriously”.

The police and fire departments are departments of Hilden City Council not separate authorities as in the UK. They are consulted throughout the conversion of an area to traffic calming and support these very positively because there are less road accidents.

The 85 percentile average speed across all Hilden Tempo 30 zones is 33 km/hr. Lutz says this proves that the traffic calming is working.

Now traffic speeds are down let’s get on with cycle facilities.

In addition to the Tempo 30 streets, Hilden has a sign-posted cycle network. “Bicycle protection lanes” are used on streets with greater than 15000 vehicles per day to give space to riders AND force the 30 km/hr speed linits through bringing the passing motor traffic closer together. Full use is made of Advanced Stop Lines at junctions with all versions in use. There are 400 cycle parking spots in the city centre, around 55 of which are next to a major playground. With 12000 inhabitants in the city centre itself, this cycle parking helps to reduce car parking. Short cuts for cyclists are promoted by allowing contra-flow cycling on ALL one-way streets. Cycles are not ridden in the “Fussgangerzone” / Pedestrian shopping streets.


Pedestrians gain from extensive traffic calming by safe crossing of the streets and regaining the footway due to the absence of parked car clutter.




Extensive traffic calming has changed the face of Hilden. It is easy and pleasant for people to walk, play and cycle on its streets. All residents have experienced an improvement in their quality of life.


Davids' Original Notes can be downloaded here.
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