Road Safety News
 

Date unveiled for Scotland's first 20mph conference

Wednesday 4th May 2016

The first 20mph conference with a specific focus on Scotland will take place on 8 June, coinciding with the introduction of new mandatory 20mph limits across Edinburgh. 

Organised by 20’s Plenty for Us, supported by Transport Scotland and hosted by City of Edinburgh Council, ‘Ready for 20 Scotland’ aims to ‘highlight best practice in road danger reduction and facilitate networking among professionals with regard to Total 20 – the policy of wide area 20mph speed limits for built up areas’.

Politicians, transport practitioners, police and campaigning experts will all share their experiences from the introduction of 20mph schemes across Scotland, England and other parts of Europe.

The event is aimed at transport planners, councillors, road safety officers, highways engineers, public health officers, campaigners and consultants.

Rod King MBE, founder and campaign director of 20’s Plenty for Us, said: “Our first 20mph conference in Scotland is an opportunity not to be missed. 20mph limits is a proven to make places safer and more people friendly.

“Those with an interest in safety, sustainability, transport, public health or the environment will find it fascinating. This will be our 8th conference and each year they get bigger and better.”

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Thanks for the clarification Allan.

So an alleged vindication of traffic calming measures rather than of the clearly academic speed limits then. The reason I say "alleged" is because straight police stats cannot be used as evidence of anything relevant. They need to be analysed and reported upon by a qualified statistician, who understands what they are showing, before we can be more sure of the effectivity of the measures over what might have been expected to have happened anyway, and at what confidence level.
Charles, England

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Hi,
Just to clarify that the 20 zones in Hull are all physically calmed. As for the figures these were from the official Police stats.
Allan, Hull

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+1

Allan, can you clarify whether the "20's" in Hull you refer to were actually traffic-calmed-zones or nothing more than 20mph speed limit signs? Because, as I understand it, 20mph speed limits are completely ineffective at reducing traffic speeds whereas traffic-calmed-zones do have an impact on traffic speeds.

Perhaps you could also clarify whether the before/after casualty comparison was a rigorous scientific analysis performed by appropriately qualified statisticians accounting for wider trends, RTM, etc., or a simplistic layman's comparison of before and after totals?
Charles, England

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In relation to David Davies comment, I would have thought the answer is blindingly obvious....it will cost. Hull introduced 20's across large parts of the City back in the Blair/Prescott years (before my time in RS). ODPM funded this and the net result was a reduction of KSI's in two years by 2/3rds. It was costly because it was physical, not the B&Q paint jobs that are often touted around.
Allan Robins, Hull

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David

Whilst many local authorities have done their own pilots on 20mph and from these assessed the benefits in their particular community there was no consistent approach or methodology. We have been saying to DfT for many years that it was time for them to conduct a national review with a common assessment methodology that looked at the very wide outcomes that there are from not only the limit reductions at street level, but also from the community consensus becoming one where 20mph is viewed as the appropriate maximum speed for most urban roads.

This very much echoed the 2013 guidance which said that such wide benefits needed to be considered when setting local and particularly 20mph speed limits.

With so many cities, towns and traffic authorities convinced that a 30mph limit on residential roads is no longer fit for purpose, then if the government is thinking along similar lines from a national perspective then such a review is entirely appropriate. However, as stated by the government this review does not take away or defer the responsibility of Traffic Authorities to set appropriate limits and prioritise the consideration of 20mph limits as per the DfT 2013 guidance.
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

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If there is plenty of evidence of proven benefits from 20mph limits one wonders why the DfT has commissioned a major study (by Atkins) to investigate this very issue.
David Davies

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Charles

I certainly don't want to "put words into your mouth" but maybe you could. How about some words about who you are? What your background is? What you actually are proposing as an alternative? How much it would cost? What chance there is of it being implemented?
Rod King, Cheshire, 20's Plenty for Us

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+6

Rod, none of those cherry-picked examples are proof that the lowering of speed limits leads to reduced speeds or to less casualties. What they are though is evidence that the case for these speed limits seems to rely on an interpretation and presentation of statistics which is clearly not impartial. Aren't these similar in character to claims made for the effectiveness of speed cameras, and which were rubbished by the UK Statistics Authority? Why doesn't your website also show the reports and analyses which which suggest that such speed limits yield no benefit and are indeed costly white elephants?

And please don't put words into my mouth - I do not "love speed bumps", they are an environmental disaster, and a disgrace. And as I didn't suggest deploying a specific or particular type of engineering, how can you say "all the engineering you suggest is 50 times more expensive and 7 times less effective in terms of mph reduced per mile of road per pound spent"?

Don't forget to mention at the conference that speed limits are never more than academic, and we might just as well replace them with signs such as "Community Street", "Distributor Road", "Flow Road", or whatever.
Charles, England

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Actually Charles there is plenty of evidence that lowering speed limits does reduce speeds and casualties. Warrington found a 27% reduction in casualties on residential roads on its 150 road pilot. In all pre and post speed surveys I have seen then speeds reduced on most roads.

Try taking a look at http://www.20splenty.org/we_love_our_safer_20mph_limits

And then there are all the other benefits such as reduced emissions, a less car-centric street, lower noise and better active travel.

True, it's not perfect, but all the engineering you suggest is 50 times more expensive and 7 times less effective in terms of mph reduced per mile of road per pound spent.

"We all know..." soundbites do not become more credible the more you repeat them. Speed limits do set the reference point around which people will base the social and legal acceptance of their speed.

It seems that your major complaint is not about what that reference point, but whether and how compliance is achieved. You may love speed bumps, but frankly communicating with drivers via "Buttocks and spines" rather than "Hearts and minds" is rather a blunt instrument to use.

Setting the right speed limit with real engagement, an element of enforcement and minimal engineering can and does produce real and tangible results as delegates will find when attending the conference.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us, Cheshire

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Rod King is quoted in the article as having asserted "20mph limits is a proven to make places safer and more people friendly". I'd be very interested to see this alleged proof, particularly given the widespread scepticism of the effectiveness of 20mph limits.

I suspect that if these benefits have been enjoyed following the introduction of 20mph limits anywhere, that the cause has been erroneously (or mischievously) attributed to the speed limits rather than to the other measures deployed simultaneously which actually made the more significant contribution to speed reduction (traffic calming of some sort perhaps). We all know speed limits alone do not significantly influence driver behaviour.
Charles, England

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