A petition on Change.org has been created by James Burdass which reads: “Stop every road in London having a 20mph Speed limit”.
More details say “Let’s face it, every driver knows that London is grinding to a halt under the Mayor’s transport policies. So why is it that we need more expensive to implement new anti-car 20mph speed limits?
The Mayor has said that all Red Routes within the Congestion charging zone will have 20mph limits. Yes, the main roads not the high street or residential roads. Just outside the zone, Park Lane goes from 40mph to 20mph. Progress?
For more than half a century 30mph has been the default urban speed limit in the UK. 20mph limits are expensive to implement, wasting scarce road related funding that could be better spent elsewhere, create more pollution on our streets, lead to more congestion and do not deliver the benefits in terms of casualty reduction that proponents expected.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/20-mph-speed-limits-on-roads
20mph leads to slower speeds for everyone and that includes bus passengers and ambulances looking to get people to hospital. Rather than winning hearts and minds it is the backs and spines that are affected.
It is time that this was rolled back and London’s main roads restored to 30mph.
Transport for London (TfL) are proposing to reduce the speed limit on Battersea Park Road (the A3205) to 20 MPH along the whole length. In addition they are proposing a new segregated cycle lane and other minor changes to the road.
Why are they proposing these changes? To quote from the TfL document: “These changes seek to create a sustainable transport spine through the Nine Elms opportunity area, providing benefits to both the existing and future residents, and workers. The road layout along this stretch of Battersea Park Road is very constrained due to the railway arches and level of activity along the road. The proposals in this consultation would create an improved cycle link between CS8 to the west and CS5 to the east. They would improve connectivity and allow for increases in cycling demand that are anticipated to be generated by the new town centre emerging at Battersea Power Station, while providing safer separated sections of cycle track. The proposals would also provide more direct pedestrian crossings and more space to interchange between buses and trains at Battersea Park station. Overall, this will create a destination where people are encouraged to walk, cycle and use public transport. The proposals are fully funded through third party contributions from the regeneration along Battersea Park Road and Nine Elms Lane”.
As usual with TfL proposals of late there is no cost information provided or cost/benefit justification.
The road network in central London is being destroyed by the actions of Transport for London (TfL) and local boroughs. When roads are closed or congestion made worse by bus or cycle lanes, then the whole network grinds to a halt. Recent new examples are:
King Street/Chiswick High Road Cycle Lane Scheme. See photograph above of the congestion this has caused. The cycle lane impedes emergency vehicles, is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, increases congestion and hence pollution, ended the King Street bus lane, and reduces parking space which negatively affects local businesses. The congestion doesn’t just stop on King Street. Hammersmith Road, Hammersmith Gyratory, and Fulham Palace Road have all become completed jammed at peak hours which affects the entire Borough.
London Bridge and Borough High Street. In the east of London, TfL introduced an experimental scheme on London Bridge and in Borough High Street in Spring 2020 using the Covid epidemic as an excuse. They are now proposing to extend these schemes for another six months. It effectively closed London Bridge to all traffic except pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, buses and taxis.
TfL are now proposing to extend both schemes for a further six months using an experimental traffic order with another consultation exercise. They claim it has reduced bus journey times but that is hardly surprising when traffic and people in central London have been much reduced by the Covid pandemic.
This scheme is totally unjustifiable as it removes one of the key London river crossings for most traffic and effectively closes that part of the City to vehicles. You can send comments on the latest decision to email@example.com
Aldwych Scheme. While I was writing this blog post I received a telephone call complaining about the revised road layout on Aldwych and Kingsway. This has substantially increased traffic congestion in the area and many taxi drivers are complaining about it. It’s yet another defective traffic scheme introduced by TfL for no clear benefit.
Slowing Traffic with 20 Limits. Apart from slowing traffic with more congestion caused by the above schemes, TfL is now proposing to impose lower speed limits on several major roads. Four 20mph speed limits will be introduced, including the A10 – A503 corridor in Haringey, the A13 Commercial Road in Tower Hamlets, the A23 London Road in Croydon and the A107 corridor in Hackney. In addition, a 30mph speed limit has been introduced on a section of the A10 Great Cambridge Road in Enfield and Haringey.
These reductions are aimed at cutting casualties as part of its Vision Zero commitment to reduce road danger and enable more walking and cycling in the capital. The central London Congestion zone had a 20-mph limit imposed in 2020 and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) will significantly increase speed enforcement by increasing MPS capacity to enforce up to one million offences by 2024/25, introducing new technology to improve effectiveness of enforcement and rolling out new powers to Police Community Support Officers so that they can stop speeding vehicles and take enforcement action against drivers.
Comment: This is of course an example of how the MPS under Cressida Dick has lost track of its priorities. Instead of cutting knife crime and keeping the roads open the MPS prefers instead to spend money on speed limit enforcement.
This is yet more harassment of drivers which will have little impact on road casualties. Vision Zero is failing to achieve its objectives in cutting accidents because reducing speed limits alone by just putting up signs does not have any impact as is clear from studies published by the DfT. To cut accidents roads need to be re-engineered and money spent on driver education.
Central London is becoming a “no go” area for private car drivers and making life very difficult for taxi/PHV and delivery vehicle drivers. This is simply encouraging businesses and retailers to move out and will impoverish London in due course.
You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below. You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.
You thought traffic in London was slow enough? Well Transport for London (TfL) have now published their report on the “consultation” into the permanent reduction of the speed limit on the Westway to 30mph, Park Lane (Northbound) to 20mph, and 13km of other routes in Westminster to 20mph. That includes on the Marylebone Road, Vauxhall Bridge Road and Edgware Road between the A40 and St. John’s Wood Road – see map below.
Needless to say, they’re planning on going ahead with it. But did you even know about this consultation? This writer certainly did not and the number of responses from the public was only 224 which surely suggests it was not widely known.
Comment: These are some of the main roads in central London and are vital to maintenance of an efficient road network. It is inconceivable that users of these roads would support such a change. It’s yet another example of TfL attempting to halt all use of motor vehicles and deter people from driving in London by making it inconvenient and frustrating.
It’s also a great example of how TfL does fake consultations with no publicity and done in mid-summer when many people are on holiday.
I have commented before on how Transport for London (TfL) have failed to justify their “Safer Speeds” proposals which includes imposing 20 mph speed limits on many roads. We have previously pointed out how TfL have been misinterpreting police accident data to support their claims that the measures are justified.
For example, they issued a Tweet that said “speed accounts for 37% of all death and serious injuries” in road accidents in London. That figure is simply wrong. The claim was allegedly based on the STATS19 data reported by the police (a form they fill out about every accident involving injuries). That form allows for multiple factors to be recorded and after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request we learned that they counted all the accidents where factors 306, 307 and 602 were noted.
But factor 602 is described as “Driver/rider either behaved in a negligent or thoughtless manner or was in a hurry….”. Clearly the key word in that sentence is the second “or” when TfL have interpreted it to mean “and”. There is no basis for claiming that all accidents where factor 602 is attached were rated by the police as ones where a driver was in a hurry. They might have simply been careless. Only where the other factors 306 or 307 were also noted could there be any claim that speed was a factor in the accident.
We now have the complete accident data and the data makes it plain that exceeding the speed limit (factor 306) is a very minor factor in KSIs (Killed and Serious Injuries) in London. It’s actually recorded as a contributory factor in only 5.9% of such accidents in the last five years. That’s actually less than the figure of 7.1% reported by the Department for Transport for the national figures in 2018 – see table below. Clearly tougher enforcement of speed limits is therefore unlikely to have much impact on the overall numbers. That of course is particularly so in London where average traffic speed is typically well below the speed limit.
The largest contributory factor by far is “Failed to Look Properly” which accounted for 42% of KSIs in London or 35% nationally. But there are several other factors with higher ratings than “Exceeding the Speed Limit” such as “Poor Turn or Manoeuvre”, “Failed to Judge Other Persons Path…”, “Loss of Control” and “Careless, Reckless or in a Hurry”.
Even if you bundle factors 306 and 307 together only 12% of KSI incidents are included nationally so reducing speed limits is going to have only a small contribution at best to reducing such accidents. It’s reducing the other factors that is the key to substantially reducing road casualties. More driver education, improved roads and research into saccadic masking may be productive.
Note also that a lot of the reported factor 306 and 307 claims of excessive speed and speed above the speed limit might well involve illegal use of vehicles such as stolen vehicles so reducing speed limits will have negligible impact in reality.
There is simply no cost/benefit justification for the Safer Speeds proposals as pointed out in our previous article and TfL have clearly been abusing the data so as to make spurious claims.
The City of Westminster is proposing to implement a 20 MPH speed limit on all its roads. The only exception will be those roads they do not control which are TfL controlled roads and where TfL may impose such a limit anyway. This move is despite the fact that a report published by the Department of Transport shows there is no road safety benefit in signed-only 20 MPH limits and there is also no evidence of any other benefits.
Readers should oppose this move, which is in essence a waste of money that would be better spent on other measures, by responding to the public consultation here: https://www.westminster.gov.uk/20mph
I have written previously on the proposal to introduce a 20 MPH speed limit on major roads in central London, and probably in the rest of London later. I criticised the failure by Transport for London (TfL) to publish any cost/benefit justification and submitted an FOI Act request to obtain that information which TfL refused. See References below for the full story.
After appealing to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) about the refusal by TfL to provide the requested information, which should have provided a justification for their proposals in advance of the public consultation, I have had my complaint upheld by the ICO and have now received the requested information. See Reference 5 below which contains the Business Case published very recently. This is very similar to a draft published in 2012 which was available well before the consultation was launched and hence should have been made available (See Reference 6). However, the numbers in the later version on which the cost/benefit is calculated were much different with the capital cost being reduced very substantially and the collision reduction benefit almost doubling. The outcome is of course a very clear positive benefit as a result.
It is clear that TfL deliberately concealed the earlier version because it provided marginal benefits. But both versions are seriously defective because they do not include all the costs in the analysis. For example, they do not include:
The economic costs of increased journey times. Although average speeds during a lot of the day are less than 20 mph on these roads, they are higher at other times and ignore the fact that between junctions and traffic lights/pedestrian crossings, the speeds are higher.
No costs are included for enforcement of the 20 MPH limits.
No costs imposed on drivers from paying fines for exceeding the limits are included, which will likely be quite substantial.
They discount the suggestion that lower speeds would increase emissions from vehicles and hence have not evaluated it which is contrary to readily available evidence on that issue.
In other words, TfL concealed the original “Business Case” on spurious grounds thus defeating a fair public consultation and then adjusted the numbers to give the required answer while not including all the associated costs. This demonstrates exactly why TfL are not to be trusted and should be reformed.
But one moral for readers is do not accept refusals to FOI Act requests. Such refusals are often unreasonable and are just a mechanism to delay answering and hence concealing information until it is too late to be useful. This is of course unprincipled in the extreme. TfL do this repeatedly and perhaps the ICO will deal properly with this issue if they get enough complaints.
In the meantime the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who is a party to this dubious activity should ensure TfL act more responsibly. I will be sending him a complaint on this issue.
Transport for London (TfL) are pushing ahead with their proposals for “Safer Speeds” in central London – which means 20 MPH speed limits enforced by cameras on many major roads in London. They have published the results of their fake public consultation on this subject which we have previously criticised as a consultation “in name only” including a refusal by TfL to provide key information on the proposals such as any cost/benefit analysis.
The public consultation used leading questions and was a complete distortion of how consultations should be performed – see https://tinyurl.com/y3gqh5hh for more information on how TfL ignores public opinion and does fake consultations.
You can read a report from TfL on the Safer Speeds consultation here: https://tinyurl.com/y3gqh5hh . On this very important topic to all road users, of which there are millions in London, they received less than 2,000 responses. Thirty nine percent of the responses came from cyclists which just shows how that pressure group dominates such consultations and are unrepresentative of the general public.
TfL propose to implement the 20 MPH limit on key roads in central London by 2020, and then in phase 2 they will extend lower speed limits to the inner ring road, and high-risk roads and town centre roads in the rest of London by 2024. In other words they will be coming to TfL controlled roads (i.e. main roads) even in outer London. Raised tables will be used at pedestrian crossings and elsewhere to slow traffic and all speed cameras will be recalibrated to the new lower speeds. Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) will also be used to ensure drivers are aware of the new limits.
What is the likely impact on road casualties? From the experience of the City of London where a 20 MPH limit has been in use for some time, the impact will be negligible. But it will make life more difficult for drivers and result in many more speeding fines as the police will be stepping up enforcement measures. This is one more step in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to deter people from using cars in London.
London is becoming a ghetto of anti-car fanatics. These proposals are being advocated in the name of road safety despite the fact that TfL refuse to give any estimates of the alleged benefits, probably because they know they will turn out to be false. The proposals are likely to be an enormous waste of money and contribute further to TfL’s budget deficit.
We are still pursuing a FOI Act request to obtain TfL’s internal reports justifying these proposals which in their usual anti-democratic approach they have refused to release. We suggest readers complain to their local MP and Greater London Assembly Member about this matter.
A campaign against blanket 20 MPH speed limits has been launched.
The reason for doing this is that there is much misinformation being spread by campaigners for such speed limits. What has been happening is that the anti-car activists encouraged by those campaigning for 20 MPH speed limits are now wasting millions of pounds nationwide when that money would have been better spent on other road safety measures – such as road engineering and education of younger drivers.
The Department for Transport (DfT) published the most authoritative study to date on the impact of wide-area signed-only 20 mph speed limits last year. It showed that there is no road safety benefit whatsoever from such schemes. In addition they have negligible impact on modal shift or on traffic speeds.
This was the long-awaited evidence that enormous amounts of money are being wasted on implementing 20 mph schemes which could have been spent instead on more effective road safety measures. In London alone, it is estimated that tens of millions of pounds have been spent on 20-mph signed-only schemes to no effect and nationwide it must run into hundreds of millions of pounds.
We have long called for “evidence-based” road safety policies. The evidence on 20 MPH schemes should not be ignored.
“The evidence available to date shows no significant change in the short term in collisions and casualties, in the majority of the case studies (including the aggregated set of residential case studies).”
“Journey speed analysis shows that the median speed has fallen by 0.7mph in residential areas and 0.9mph in city centre areas.”
Note that we are not opposed to the use of 20-mph speed limits where it might be of benefit or where compliance will be high but it is not the solution to all road safety problems and simply sticking up signs is a waste of money. The simplistic solutions proposed by advocates of wide area signed-only 20 MPH schemes do not work to reduce the Killed and Seriously Injured (KSIs) on our roads to any significant extent. Money is being wasted on them that could be better used to reduce KSIs in other ways.
20 MPH speed limits should be opposed by all road users. They are indeed SENSELESS.
For more information contact: Roger Lawson on 020-8295-0378
Subsequently I used the Freedom of Information Act to ask TfL for their consultation policy documents and guidelines, plus information on the costs and any cost/benefit analysis of the “Safer Speeds for London” proposals. That’s the proposal which will slow traffic to 20 mph on many major London roads and where there was a short (now closed) public consultation which did not contain evidence for justification.
TfL has supplied the information on their consultation policies and procedures and if anyone would like a copy, please let me know. In Principle 3 of the TfL Consultation Policy it says “We must provide consultees with enough information to understand what we are proposing so that they can respond on an informed basis”. That was certainly not done on the Safer Speeds proposal.
As regards my request for costs and cost/benefit data on the Safer Speeds proposal, TfL rejected my request on the basis that it is exempt information because the information requested “is intended for future publication” – see Section 22 of the FOI Act, and that it was not justified in the public interest. What is the point in publishing that information after the public consultation has ended? It looks like a simple attempt to avoid answering, or are they saying that they have not looked at the costs and costs/benefit before putting forward the Safer Speeds proposal? Either way, it is unreasonable so I am appealing.
This is of course the typical run around one gets with TfL when they don’t wish to disclose information. TfL are a secretive organisation that likes to develop proposals and present them as a fait-accompli with only public consultation on trivia. It has been that way ever since Ken Livingstone was in charge. It surely needs to change!
But according to a report in Local Transport Today (LTT) TfL is heading in the opposite direction. The report said that TfL is changing the way it engages and consults on active travel schemes. There will be “a greater emphasis on local engagement either in advance of, or potentially instead of, formal consultation”. It is suggested that to get the 73 safety critical road junctions in London improved they need to push through with projects and the public “has a limited ability to influence our proposals” – so there is no point in statutory consultations. But It also suggests road users will have less opportunity to comment, and of course a non-statutory consultation leaves little ability to mount a legal challenge.