A report published by the DfT about the UK’s first city-wide 20mph speed limit – in Portsmouth – has been interpreted differently by the Telegraph and Portsmouth City Council.
The Telegraph said that the £500,000 scheme ‘has not brought any significant reduction in the number of accidents’. In contrast, a report published on Portsmouth City Council’s website said the initiative ‘may be succeeding’.
The Telegraph said: “The number of people killed or seriously injured on affected roads actually went up, not down, after the limit was lowered.
“The analysis, carried out by the consultants Atkins on behalf of the DfT, found that prior to the reduction in the limit, an average of 18.7 people per year were killed or seriously injured on the streets covered. After the reduction this rose to 19.9 per year.”
Conversely, the Portsmouth City Council report said that when comparing the three years before the scheme was implemented with the two years afterwards, injuries and casualties fell.
The council says: “The number of injuries dropped from 183 per year to 142, a 22% drop. During the same period, researchers Atkins also said casualties fell by 14%.”
Simon Moon, Portsmouth City Council’s head of transport and street management, said: “This is very encouraging, in particular the number of recorded casualties falling by 22% and a significant reduction in sites monitored with higher average speeds.
“But the 20mph zones are about changing the culture of driving in the city, which is a long-term job.”
Councillor Jason Fazackarley, cabinet member for traffic and transport, said: “We brought this in because officers told us it would bring down accidents. Since it started, accidents have come down.
“Some people have been unhappy with the schemes since they were operated, but they are in a minority, and there are lots of people calling for it to be extended even further.”
Click here to download the DfT report, Interim Evaluation of the Implementation of 20 mph Speed Limits in Portsmouth.