Tag Archives: 20mph

Bristol’s 20mph zones work and should be copied across Britain (please note, Bath)

Photo at courtesy of @Bristol20mph

Last month a review of Bristol’s 20mph areas was published by UWE with coverage in local media (here, here and here). This adds to the growing weight of evidence backing city-wide lower speed limits (unlike a widely ridiculed ‘report’ from Bath and North East Somerset Council (BANES).

UWE’s Bristol Twenty Miles Per Hour Limit Evaluation (BRITE) study found that, on average, speeds on more than 100 surveyed roads have reduced since the 20mph speed limits were implemented, with average speeds of between 19mph and 26mph on 20mph roads shown in the report.

On 30mph streets, average speeds on the roads surveyed were below 30mph in every area.

The lower speeds were also found during night and summer times, when there is typically less traffic to slow motorists.

Other key findings were:

  • Statistically significant reductions in average traffic speeds of 2.7mph across the city of Bristol, following the introduction of 20mph speed limits. This is a larger reduction than seen in previous evaluations in other cities.
  • The study employed a more sophisticated analysis than previous studies of 20mph limits, including using individual speed data from over 36 million vehicle observations and controlling for other factors that might affect changes in traffic speeds.
  • There has been a reduction in the number of fatal, serious and slight injuries from road traffic collisions. Casualties avoided per year are 4.53 fatalities, 11.3 serious injuries and 159.3 slight injuries.
  • These equate to an estimated cost savings of over £15 million per year. This is an annual savings over 5 times greater than the one-off implementation cost of £2.77m.
  • Although there is still majority support for 20mph speed limits in Bristol, there remains concern about compliance and behaviour of other drivers.
  • Walking and cycling across Bristol has increased, both among children travelling to school and adults travelling to work.
  • The introduction of 20mph speed limits in Bristol offers a model for other towns and cities across the UK, who are seeking to reduce traffic speeds, cut road traffic casualties, and promote community health and well-being through road danger reduction.
  • In order to assess effectiveness of 20mph speed limits, it is vital that other towns and cities follow Bristol’s example, and prioritise the ongoing collection and analysis of appropriate data on vehicle speeds, road traffic casualties and wider public health impacts.

The Bristol Twenty Miles Per Hour Limit Evaluation (BRITE) Study -Pilkington, P., Bornioli, A., Bray, I. and Bird, E. (2018) – http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/34851

Bristol Health Partners headed their piece on the report 20mph speed limits in Bristol save lives, reduce injuries and save the NHS £15 million a year.

The report will be used in Bristol’s 20mph review to start this Spring. There are hopes that this latest research will act as a brake on any attempt to reverse 20mph or diminish its scope, notably from Cllr Mark Bradshaw in a guest blog on Sustrans website, Making the case for 20mph speed limits in Bristol. He was closely involved in the planning and implementation of this innovative change for Bristol. In the blog, he shares with us why he originally supported the implementation of 20mph limits, and why he still believes in the programme.

I was convinced by two factors in particular during my time in Cabinet:

  1. Evidence that people, especially children, in disadvantaged communities, were up to six times more likely to suffer injury (or worse) by being hit by a speeding vehicle than those from more affluent areas.
  2. Also, that people involved in a collision at 20mph are more likely to survive without serious injury or death, despite the trauma and potential for some injury compared with 30mph and above.

So, it was both an issue of equality and survivability. There is a similarity here with air pollution and the greater exposure to toxic air experienced by populations in poorer areas.

 

20mph in Bristol saves more than 4 lives a year

Photo at courtesy of @Bristol20mph

One of those lives saved could have been yours or a loved ones.

We’ve campaigned for 20mph to be the default speed limit in Bristol for nearly 30 years and we welcome this report from UWE which also found an estimated cost saving of over £15m per year from the avoidance of fatal, serious and slight injuries.

So why is Bristol City Council still forging ahead with a review of the 20mph rollout, when clearly it has been an outstanding success?  Former transport chief Mark Bradshaw (Labour) tweeted

“No doubt local changes needed with more enforcement action – but I cannot see why new citywide review is now needed when the policy is working as intended! And other towns/cities are/to become #20mph It just gives impression some in power want it scrapped.”

Our friends at 20’s Plenty for Us published the following in response to the news:

The University of the West of England (UWE) has analysed the impact of 20mph roll-outs for Bristol City Council. It finds reductions of 2.7mph in average traffic speeds and an estimated cost saving of over £15m per year from fatal, serious and slight injuries avoided.

Research took a holistic, public health approach to evaluation, using a variety of data sources to examine changes. It found :

  • Significant reductions in average traffic speeds of 2.7mph across the city of Bristol, following the introduction of 20mph speed limits – larger than in previous evaluations in other cities.
  • It used individual speed data from over 36 million vehicle observations and controlled for other factors affecting speeds.
  • A reduction in the number of fatal, serious and slight injuries from road traffic collisions. Casualties avoided  are 4.53 fatalities, 11.3 serious injuries and 159.3 slight injuries pa.
  • Estimated cost savings of over £15 million per year. This is an annual saving over 5 times greater than the one-off implementation cost of £2.77m.
  • Although there is still majority support for 20mph speed limits in Bristol, there remains concern about compliance and behaviour of other drivers.
  • Walking and cycling across Bristol has increased, both among children travelling to school and commuters.
  • The introduction of 20mph speed limits in Bristol offers a model for other towns and cities across the UK, who are seeking to reduce traffic speeds, cut road traffic casualties, and promote community health and well-being through road danger reduction.

Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign Director for 20’s Plenty for Us commented :

“This report builds on the findings of other 20mph cities and towns. Default 20mph limits are an important foundation for making our places better places to be. They are affordable, reduce speeds, reduce casualties and make our places more friendly for walking and cycling. This study shows that the public health benefits are significant. It is now time to standardise on a 20mph default at national level to increase benefits, reduce implementation costs and maximise the excellent return on public funds.”

Fighting for Air

On Wednesday 10 January, BBC Two aired Fighting for Air, a documentary looking at how a local community in Birmingham, aided by a BBC team, set about tackling pollution on their local high street.

The street could have been a number of shopping streets in Bristol, with almost identical debates on issues involved.

The solutions put forwarded for reducing pollution were smoothing traffic flow by introducing green waves, replacing the parking bays with vegetation and handing out free bus tickets.

The natural reaction of some of the traders to removal of parking and reducing traffic was fear of reduced passing trade, but it was highlighted that improving the urban environment generally increases walking. Pedestrians generally spend more money in local shops than car drivers. An example given was the high street of Walthamstow in London. There, a Mini Holland scheme has seen vehicle numbers fall by 2,000 along the main shopping street and 10,000 in the local area, a prime example of traffic evaporation at work. The local butcher has seen an increase in trade, whilst the antique dealer thought his business had been negatively hit.

Back in the Birmingham high street, the most effective measure was proclaimed by the experts to be the Green Wave. This is the synchronisation of traffic signals in line with the speed limit of the road, to reduce the stop start flow induced by the signal setups in many of our cities. Stops and starts are the most fuel hungry stages of driving. Where drivers know a green wave is in place it also strongly incentivises smooth, steady driving below the speed limit.

The average speed of traffic in Bristol city centre in 2017 was 8mph. 10 – 12mph is recognised an easy speed at which anyone lightly turning bike pedals on a flat street will travel. Green waves at this speed could slash emissions in the city, improve the flow of traffic, result in calmer driving and most importantly harmonise the movements of cyclists and cars.

The measures were tested for a 12 hour period. Traffic volume remained the same, hinting that the free bus tickets weren’t so successful. However, over the period NO2 concentrations fell by by 10% and PM10 likely a result of the absence of parking, increase in vegetation and synchronisation of traffic signals. Birmingham City Council are now considering making these changes permanent.

Public support for 20mph limits holds firm, new study reveals

3_20mph_Speed_Limits

It’s good to see yet another new report about the popularity of 20mph limits, this one from UWE academics published on the Bristol Health Partners website:

Seven in every 10 adults in Great Britain support the introduction of 20mph speed limits in busy streets, according to a major new survey.The poll conducted by YouGov earlier this year found 72 per cent of the 3,000 respondents backed the limit in busy streets, with 21 per cent in opposition. The result mirrored findings from similar online surveys carried out as part of the same study in 2013 and 2015.

The outcomes of the surveys, funded by Bristol City Council, were analysed by academics from the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol).

20mph areas was one of the first campaigning priorities of Bristol Cycling way back in 1992, see our Twenty is Plenty campaign. It’s great to see it becoming the norm across Bristol and the UK. All the evidence is usefully gathered together on the website Bristol’s Better at 20.

Also on the Bristol Health Partners website is Walking and cycling are the oxygen for healthy towns and cities from Dr Adrian Davies, co-Director of the Healthy Neighbourhood Environments Health Integration Team, also known as SHINE. He wants policy makers, and particularly the business lead LEP (Local Enterprise Partnerships), to make use of Sustrans’ new Active Travel Toolbox:

The Active Travel Toolbox is anchored in peer-reviewed evidence, for improved health and wellbeing of the workforce with increased levels of walking and cycling. Case studies provide real world examples of businesses where interventions have led to both improved health outcomes and ways in which behaviour changes can be introduced.

The Toolbox provides clear evidence to the LEPs: active travel is essential for economic prosperity and the health of society. Period.

20mph saves emissions, energy AND lives

The 20mph debate rages on in Bristol, with murmurings of potential reversal, Bristol Cycle Campaign want to shed some facts on an important aspect – Energy and Emissions. We’ve even got a handy infographic.

One controversial argument often heard is that a vehicle travelling at 20mph has higher fuel consumption and emissions than at 30mph. Whilst it is true that the gearing on most passenger cars means that traveling on an empty motorway at 20 instead of 30 would use more fuel for the same distance, the same is not true in urban areas. Even during uncongested times these roads have junctions and traffic lights. It is almost impossible to safely navigate a city without stopping and starting.

Take a 4km journey with 7 stops 500m apart.

Read more ...

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