20mph scheme wins Portsmouth a national award

14.14 | 21 July 2010 | | 5 comments

At the National Transport Awards in Manchester, Portsmouth City Council was the winner in the road safety, traffic management and enforcement category.
In 2008 Portsmouth become the first city in Britain to have a 20mph safety limit on almost all residential streets. The council scheme, funded by the government, has brought the city national attention and interest from many other councils.
Chairman of the judging panel David Begg, publisher of Transport Times magazine, said: “Portsmouth’s area-wide 20mph speed limit policy has admirably brought traffic-dominated streets to an end, reclaiming them for community use, reducing accidents and casualties while managing to prevent any impact on journey times and traffic flows around the city.”
The awards, in association with Transport Times, are endorsed by the Department for Transport, the Local Transport Planning Network and independent transport watchdog Passenger Focus.
Cllr Jason Fazackarley, cabinet member for traffic and transportation, said: "This award recognises Portsmouth’s pioneering work, which has inspired other councils to adopt similar schemes.
"The 20mph scheme is about making our streets more useable for the people who live on them, as well as pedestrians and cyclists. It’s not safe to drive at more than 20mph on our narrow streets, which often have cars parked on both sides.
“The 20mph limit gives responsible drivers confidence and authority to drive at the appropriate speed. Drivers who want to drive too fast – for instance, at 30mph – have their official ‘permission’ to do that removed."

For more information contact John Millard, communications officer, Portsmouth City Council on (023) 9284 1395.


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    I would be interested to see David Begg’s response to the comments made above. Does Mr Begg read these comments?

    Bobbio, Besneville
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    Yes, it is interesting to know how much this has cost the UK taxpayer, and whether all these claims about safety are real or wishful thinking by local authorities? 20mph zones also slow business, so the effect is that business tends to relocate away from slow traffic zones with loss of jobs, income and opportunities. It is no co-incidence that Portsmouth FC went into administration last year and it also has one of the worst unemployment areas in the UK. A case of slow down and lose your job?

    paul spelzini
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    As a judge should be indiscriminate in his judgement, it hardly becomes a person who sees traffic as a threat to be chairman of a judging panel. Yet it is Mr. David Begg who sees traffic as a dominating factor – presumably to be sentenced to a crawl in the name of road safety, speed being a criminal. Or is it?

    In 1926 there were 1,715,000 motor vehicles registered and 4,886 road fatalities, giving a ratio of 2.9 fatalities per thousand vehicles. By 1997, the number of motor vehicles registered increased to 6,974,000 but the number of fatalities fell to 3,599. Thus, the ratio of fatalities per one thousand motor vehicles fell to 0.1. Yet since the inception of speed persecution schemes, there has been a distinct stalling of a diminishing fatality figure.

    In 1904 a Royal Commission studied traffic in London. The speeds of various vehicles were taken. During off-peak periods a motor driven cab would travel at an average of 12 miles per hour. In the post-war period traffic speeds were slower. In 1996 the average off-peak vehicle speed was recorded as 10 miles per hour. Today, those speeds are hardly any different. Streets are more usable for all users when they are free of obstructions. People are safer when they respect what is around them, are taught to take responsibility for their actions. Campaigning for reduced speed limits, is a very different matter than campaigning for safer drivers. Speed limits make for National publicity, yet penalize safe drivers. Safer drivers we already have – the figures above show it, and they are from the government’s own parliamentary library.

    To support this, the British Library holds a report by Lieut. Col. M. O’Gorman C.B. into road accidents, in which it was discovered that over 90% of all fatalities in Central London occurred at speeds below 20mph; 80% under 15mph; and 58% under 10mph! Conversely, fatalities over 20mph were less than 5% – this, in 1926.

    The final paragraph of this report on Portsmouth is little more than gibberish. “Gives responsible drivers confidence”? In what? To do what? Such schemes are little more than political ladder climbing, more despicably, is the indoctrination of our children into false beliefs.

    D. Reynolds, Herts.
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    There is no meaningful statistical evidence whatever for casualty reduction in the 20mph area after adjusting for traffic displaced to other roads, and compared to far better national falls at the same time!

    I have filed formal complaints and detailed analysis with PCC for months – they simply ignore the real evidence and carry on cherry picking numbers that suit them, while ignoring the ones that do not.

    KSI is up – in absolute numbers, not even allowing for falling traffic – and the DfT are refusing to disclose fatality figures!

    All this is available from me on request.

    Idris Francis
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    Did the team making this award read the 1st Year Evaluation Report?
    When traffic volumes and national trends are factored in, casualties among vulnerable road users in Portsmouth were up (cyclist injuries were 37% higher than the national trend, and pedestrian injuries were 16% worse than in the UK as a whole (a shocking 57% worse in the case of serious injuries). In fact, all measures of injuries in Portsmouth were worse than the national figures. At a cost of £572,988.
    The 2nd Year report shows that it has got worse.
    My formal complaint against members of Portmouth CC is currently being investigated. It concerns:
    1) implementing a system that has been shown to increased risk to the public, especially for vulnerable road users
    2) issuing misleading statements about the “benefits” and “success”, after they had been advised of the inadequacy of your assessment
    3) spending over £500,000 on a scheme which was never likely to yield a positive net effect on road safety.

    Eric Bridgstock, St Albans
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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