20 MPH – It Makes Very Little Difference

The roll out of 20 mph zones in Manchester is being halted because the impact on traffic speeds has been negligible – indeed in some cases they have gone up. And the cut in pedestrian and cycling accidents is less than the drop across Manchester as a whole.

Some £1 million has been spent to date, but planned spending of another £700,000 has been halted.

Traffic speeds in the implemented areas have only reduced on average by 0.7 mph.

A report to be considered by the Council recommends “that additional measures to create safer roads across the city should be considered, while work is undertaken to better understand the full benefits of creating further 20mph zones”. No admission of failure there of course.

To quote: “20mph zones on more than 1,000 roads and 138 schools have been introduced in Manchester and, since 2014, an average speed reduction of 0.7mph has been recorded where the lower speed limit is in effect.  However, analysis shows that so far, the amount of accidents experienced in 20mph zones has not fallen as quickly as initially hoped.”

Comments: an enormous amount of money has been spent to achieve no obvious benefit whatsoever. The speed reductions and accident change are not untypical of signed-only 20 mph schemes. Yet the ill informed continue to press for their introduction. Will campaigning group 20sPlenty be advertising this latest evidence of how pointless they are? I suspect not.

But the really disgraceful aspect is that one million pounds has been spent for no benefit when it could actually have been spent on other measures such as road engineering or education to actually cut accidents, reduce injuries and save lives.

For more information, see: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/news/article/7641/review_recommends_new_road_safety_measures_to_complement_manchesters_20mph_zones

Roger Lawson

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