There could be more 20mph speed limits – and fewer traffic calming speed humps – on urban roads, if local authorities follow new guidelines and respond to feedback gathered in a major consultation exercise by the Department for Transport (DfT). At the same time a new online toolkit has also been launched by the DfT which will enable local councils to calculate the potential costs and benefits of implementing new speed limits.
The objective of the guidelines are as follows:
· to provide up-to-date and consistent advice to traffic authorities,
· to improve clarity and therefore greater consistency of approach when setting speed limits across the country,
· to enable the setting of more appropriate local speed limits, including lower and higher limits where conditions dictate,
· to achieve local speed limits that better reflect the needs of all road users,
· to ensure improved quality of life for local communities and a better balance, between road safety, accessibility and environmental objectives, especially in rural communities.
The consultation process involved a wide variety of organisations including local authorities, the police, the RAC, road safety campaigners, cycling groups and driving instructors.
Feedback from them recommended 20mph limits on streets where there are – or could be – significant numbers of pedestrians or cyclists. However, the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) commented that there must be a proven need for a 20mph speed limit and didn't support large scale implementation of the lower limit over a number of roads.
As for road humps, many respondents expressed a general dislike of them as a traffic calming measure.
Commenting on the new guidance, Roads Minister, Stephen Hammond MP said: “Local councils should set speed limits based on their local knowledge and the views of the community. That's why we've launched an online toolkit alongside the guidance to help councils make the best decisions for their local area.”