speed limit

Positive results of introduction of 30kph speed limit in Bristol

The University of West England has conducted an elaborate study of the effects of lower urban speed limits in Bristol. The study looked at individual speed data from more than 36 million vehicle observations and controlled for other factors that might affect changes in traffic speeds, representing a more sophisticated analysis than previous studies of 30kph limits. Bristol Health Partners reports:

The 30kph speed limits in residential areas in Bristol have prevented more than four fatal casualties a year, as well as 11 serious and 159 slight injuries. This is estimated to have saved the NHS £15 million a year

The research also showed average speeds have dropped by 4.3kph in the areas with 30kph limits – a larger reduction than other cities have seen. Speeds reduced in 100 of the 106 roads that the researchers looked at. Critics of 30kph limits often cite a lack of compliance as an argument against the schemes. However, this evidence suggests that, overall, while drivers may not be driving below 30kph, they have reduced their speeds by a significant amount.

Dr Suzanne Audrey, Senior Research Fellow in Public Health at the University of Bristol and co-Director of the Supporting Healthy Inclusive Neighbourhood Environments Health Integration Team (SHINE), welcomed the findings, saying:

“This is vital evidence that 30kph limits are effective – both in preventing casualties and encouraging healthy behaviour in the neighbourhoods where they’re brought in. If more people feel they can walk and cycle around residential areas rather than get in their cars, this brings enormous benefits to health, community cohesion and air quality. 

The introduction of lower urban speed limits is overwhelmingly popular:

The latest YouGov 2017 survey revealed 62 per cent of Bristolians support the limits on residential roads, and 72 per cent support them on busy streets. These levels are very similar to the rest of the UK.

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30kph/20mph in Shropshire

UPDATE 18.11.2017 Shropshire Star reports: Shrewsbury Town Council has backed a move to introduce 30kph speed limits in the town.

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It is widely accepted that general 30kph/20mph (not zones) speed limits are an important part of Vision Zero and an important contribution to so-called “active travel”, which means much more walking and cycling and creating healthy streets and healthy communities where streets are transformed from traffic sewers to people friendly social spaces. 30kph/20mph also has a significant impact on reducing death and injury and reducing collisions. This is often summarised in a simple diagram:

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Given a choice of producing a socially rich, healthy environment where people live why would we want to select “5 out of 10 survive” at 30mph (50kph) or “1 out of 10 survive” at 40mph (60kph) when we could have “9 out of 10 survive”?

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Rod Thompson

Fortunately 15 million people in England and Wales now benefit from wide-area 30kph/20mph speed limits. Warrington Borough Council reports a 25% decline in collisions as a result of its 30kph/20mph policy and the Scottish Parliament is considering new legislation to make 30kph/20mph general throughout Scotland on residential roads.

All this stops when you cross the border into Shropshire. Shropshire is a unitary council and very firmly Conservative. Its leaders and councillors refuse to adopt 30kph/20mph.
Its director of public health (Prof Rod Thomson) refuses to recommend 30kph/20mph even though Shropshire has a “worse than England average” rate for KSI (killed and seriously injured in road crashes).

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John Campion

The Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia police which covers Shropshire, John Campion, rejects 30kph/20mph.

In public health, transport and policy terms Shropshire is very backward and that is why a group of 30kph/20mph campaigners have organised a Shropshire wide 30kph/20mph conference to be held at Theatre Severn in Shrewsbury on Saturday 30th September 2017, 13:00-17:00. This will hear the hard evidence in favour of 30kph/20mph and hear the views of local campaign groups in Ludlow, Shrewsbury, Church Stretton, Oswestry and Shifnal. The people want 30kph/20mph but councillors, the DPH and the PCC refuse to put it on the agenda.

The speakers at the conference include:

  • Rod King MBE – Founder and Campaign Director, 20’s Plenty for Us, the national campaign for 30kph/20mph as the default limit for urban and village streets.
  • Dr Paul Butcher, Director of Public Health, Calderdale Council “The public health benefits of 20mph”
  • Professor Adrian Davis, Evidence & Effectiveness Adviser, Transport Team, Bristol City Council, “20mph and the vision for a healthier Bristol”

The conference will be chaired by Professor John Whitelegg.

The director of Public Health for Shropshire has been invited to speak and he has refused. He has been asked to send a substitute and he has not replied. The Police and Crime Commissioner has been invited to speak and he has refused.

All Shropshire Council councillors and cabinet members are invited. All town councils in Shropshire have been invited to send a delegate. The conference will present the solid scientific evidence around why 30kph/20mph is a major contribution to road safety, reducing road traffic danger, reducing death and injury, improving public health and transforming streets. Speakers will answer questions about enforcement, air pollution and costs and subject to the agreement of all those present we will ask that Shropshire Council as a matter of urgency adopts a system-wide general default 30kph/20mph speed limit.

There are no funds to support this conference. It will nevertheless go ahead. It is definite. We hope to raise the approximate £1000 cost (mainly venue, IT and expenses for speakers) through crowdfunding.

Please consider helping us with this fundraising effort:

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/benefits-of- a-shropshire- wide-conference- for-20mph 

John Whitelegg

UPDATE 19.09.17

Press release, with list of Council areas that have adopted general 30kph/20mph speed limits and the population size of those council areas

Programme of the conference

Editor’s note: It is no coincidence that Shropshire voted 57% for Brexit.