Safe speeds for central London – introducing 20mph speed limits

Closed 10 Jul 2019

Opened 5 Jun 2019

Results Updated 4 Oct 2019

Following consultation and responding to the concerns raised we expect the new speed limit of 20mph with the measures we proposed to be operating in early 2020.

There were nearly 2,000 responses to the consultation and half of people said the proposals would have a positive impact on walking with 31% saying that many more people would choose to walk. Almost two-thirds thought that the proposals would lead to more people cycling (59%).

To minimise disruption as much as possible the new speed limit signs will be introduced first, with road markings and construction of the seven raised crossings and tables to follow. This will ensure all routes with the new 20mph speed limit are operating from the same start date to provide consistency for drivers, and also enables us to construct the raised crossings individually, reducing the likelihood of extensive road closures in central London. We intend to complete work overnight to minimise the impact on road users.

The introduction of the new 20mph speed limits for central London will be supported by a marketing campaign to increase awareness of the new limits. This will be launched in advance of the new speed limits being introduced.

As said in the consultation a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation strategy has been developed which will assess the success of the physical measures in lowering speeds. We will use this assessment to decide whether more traffic calming measures are needed in central London and where they should be introduced on other parts of the road network.

Following the public support for these proposals we will be accelerating proposals to bring safer speeds to some of the most high-risk areas in inner and outer London as part of the second phase. Our evaluation will also be critical in informing this second phase and we will continue working with boroughs, local communities and organisations as these plans progress.

Click on the link below to view the Consultation Report.

Files:

Overview

We want your views on our proposals to make the streets we manage in central London 20mph by 2020 and the associated measures.

Last year, in partnership with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), we published the Vision Zero Action Plan. The Action Plan sets out our ambition to eliminate death and serious injury from London’s transport network by 2041.

It details our plans to reduce road danger, including proposals to implement a 20mph speed limit on the roads we operate and manage in central London. 

We’ve been working to determine the most effective way of implementing the new speed limits and are now ready to share our plans with you.

We’ve provided more information about our proposals on this page and would like your feedback before we progress this important safety programme.

Why we are lowering speed limits

Figures from 2016, 2017 and 2018 (provisional) suggest 128 people were killed in speed-related collisions on London’s streets. A further 2,256 people were reported as seriously injured in collisions where speed was recorded as a contributory factor. It is unacceptable that so many Londoners are being killed and seriously injured in speed-related collisions on our roads and we need to do more to prevent these from happening.

This is why we're lowering speed limits across London.

Collision data from around the world is very clear. It shows that the faster a vehicle is travelling:

  • The more likely a collision will occur because the driver has less time to react, stop or avoid the collision
  • The more severe an injury resulting from the collision will be

We're introducing lower speed limits on our roads in two phases:

  • Phase 1: Roads we operate and manage within central London will have a speed limit of 20mph by 2020
  • Phase 2: Speed limits will be lowered on a further 140 kilometres of our road network in inner and outer London, including on the inner ring road, high-risk roads and roads in town centres. This might mean speed limits will be lowered along some roads from 50mph to 40mph, or from 40mph to 30mph, in addition to introducing areas of 20mph where appropriate

The Transport for London Road Network (the TLRN or London's 'red routes') forms a network of major roads. They make up five per cent of London's roads but carry up to 30 per cent of traffic. Many roads operated by London's boroughs, and by us, already have speed limits of 20mph.

This consultation focuses on Phase 1.

Why speed limits are being lowered to 20mph

20mph is a safer speed limit than 30mph for roads where space is shared by motor vehicles and people walking, cycling or riding a motorbike. This is because a person walking who is hit by a vehicle travelling at 30mph is up to five times more likely to be killed than if they were hit at 20mph.

Infographic of chance of being killed or seriously injured in 20mph compared to 30mph

Collisions occur more in central London than elsewhere in London and it’s also where higher numbers of people are walking, cycling and riding motorcycles. This creates a high-risk road environment and lower speeds will reduce the danger motor vehicles pose to people on foot and bike.

As more and more people are choosing to walk and cycle around London, we must reduce the risk of them being killed or seriously injured.

Lowering traffic speeds also makes our streets less polluted, and better and safer places to walk and cycle.

Which roads are included?

Phase 1 includes the following roads within central London that we operate and manage, except those that already have a 20mph speed limit. This includes:

  • Albert Embankment
  • Lambeth Palace Road
  • Lambeth Bridge
  • Millbank
  • Victoria Embankment
  • Upper Thames Street
  • Lower Thames Street
  • Tower Hill
  • Aldgate gyratory including: Leman Street, Prescot Street, Mansell Street, Minories and Goodman’s Yard
  • Borough High Street
  • Great Dover Street
  • Blackfriars Road
  • Part of Druid Street (between Tower Bridge Road and Crucifix Lane)
  • Crucifix Lane
  • Part of Bermondsey Street (between Crucifix Lane and Tooley Street)
  • Part of Queen Elizabeth Street (between Tooley Street and Tower Bridge Road)

Other TfL projects will reduce the speed limit to 20mph on the following roads within central London:

  • Tooley Street Healthy Streets project: Part of Tooley Street (between Borough High Street and Tower Bridge Road)
  • Elephant and Castle 20mph project: Elephant and Castle Roundabout, St George’s Circus Roundabout, St George’s Road (from Elephant and Castle to the junction with Westminster Bridge Road), Westminster Bridge Road (from St George’s Circus to the junction with St George’s Road) and London Road (from St George’s Circus to Elephant and Castle)

The following TfL roads in central London already have a speed limit of 20mph:

  • Bishopsgate
  • Farringdon Street
  • Farringdon Road
  • King’s Cross Road
  • Westminster Bridge
  • York Road
  • Stamford Street
  • Southwark Street
  • St Thomas Street

A map of the roads included in Phase 1, including some of the existing TfL roads in central London which already have a 20mph speed limit is below:

Your browser does not support inline PDF viewing.Please download the PDF.

Click here to open the map of the roads included in Phase 1 including some of the existing TfL roads in central London which already have a 20mph speed limit (PDF 2.21MB)

How we will lower speed limits

There are many different ways to encourage people to drive at lower speeds.

Department for Transport (DfT) guidance suggests that streets that are self-enforcing are the most successful way to achieve compliance with lower speed limits. We are eager to achieve self-enforcing speed limits in central London because when speeds are complied with by drivers, our policing partners do not have to direct additional resources to enforce the speed limit. In addition, the look and feel of roads that are designed to be self-enforcing often mean they’re more welcoming places for people to walk and cycle.

However, the roads we manage are London's most strategic routes, carrying 30 per cent of all London’s traffic and providing important links for freight and servicing vehicles, as well as buses. They’re also often relied upon by emergency services as the most direct roads to use when responding to an emergency. For these reasons, we’re taking a phased approach to delivering self-enforcing speed limits, so we can evaluate the effectiveness of the measures first and understand whether additional changes are needed to achieve lower speeds.

Some of the design and engineering measures we’re using to lower speeds are:

  • Signs
  • Road markings
  • Raising pedestrian crossings
  • Raised tables
  • Removing the white line in the centre of a road

There's no 'one size fits all' approach to reducing vehicle speeds and we also need to consider the type and function of the road, the space available and different road users, when we design a low speed environment.

We’ll be taking a phased approach to making these changes so we can monitor the benefits and impacts before determining whether additional changes are needed.

Our proposals include:

  • Installing 20mph signs and road markings on all routes
  • Installing raised pedestrian crossings in seven locations where clusters of collisions, that led to someone being killed of seriously injured, have occurred and where there are high volumes of people walking
  • Recalibrating all existing speed cameras in central London to enforce 20mph speed limits instead of 30mph

Once we’ve made these changes we’ll be monitoring the effectiveness of them in lowering speeds to 20mph across central London. We’ll evaluate changes to vehicle speeds and collision patterns, and complete surveys on street to assess the change in the street environment for people walking and cycling.  

This evaluation will allow us to understand if further changes are needed along these routes to make sure drivers are complying with the 20mph speed limit. We’ll also be carrying out research into the impact of different gradients and designs of raised crossings to assess the impact on passengers in vehicles including buses and ambulances.

The results of this research will be used to inform the detailed designs and in particular, the gradients of any raised measures which are implemented on the Transport for London road network as part of this programme and future programmes.

What we are proposing to change

The below provides more information about the design and engineering measures we’re proposing to use for the roads included in Phase 1.

Signs and lamp post banners

Regular speed limit signs are installed at the entrance to roads indicating the speed limit, as well as repeater signs along the road. These are standard measures when indicating speed limits and in with Department for Transport (DfT) guidance.

Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) use LED lighting to draw the driver’s attention to the signed speed limit.

A Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS)

These signs record a vehicle’s speed and then display a message to the motorist, depending on if they are traveling within the limit or not. These are not mandatory speed limit signs, but evidence shows they work effectively in reinforcing the speed limit to drivers.

In areas where there are high volumes of people walking and town centre hubs, we’re also installing temporary 20mph banners on lamp posts to raise greater awareness of the importance of a 20mph speed limit in these locations.

Road markings

All roads with the new 20mph speed limit will have large ‘20’ signs painted onto the road.

Raised pedestrian crossings

This road change raises the pedestrian crossing to the same level as the pavement creating an incline for vehicles. All raised crossings will have tactile edge paving to mark the crossing location for visually impaired people.

A raised pedestrian crossing

They are designed so that motor vehicles can travel over them without having to accelerate or decelerate, if travelling at or below the 20mph speed limit. This is in line with DfT guidelines.

Raised tables

These are the same as raised pedestrian crossings; however they are not designated crossing points and do not have tactile edges.

Removing the white line in the centre of a road

Research shows removing the centre white line separating directions of traffic can successfully slow vehicles down. This is because without clear lane markings, drivers have to pay more attention to the road space they are travelling in.

Safety cameras

Safety cameras capture vehicles driving above the speed limit. The Metropolitan Police Service can penalise the driver for breaking the law using this information. There are already safety cameras on some of the sections of road in Phase 1 and these will be recalibrated to enforce the new 20mph speed limit.

The Metropolitan Police enforce all speed limits in London using on-street officers, mobile speed cameras and fixed speed cameras. In 2017/18, 155,729 people were processed for speeding related offences, including 42,771 on 20mph limit roads.

The Metropolitan Police will continue enforcing all speed limits across London, including where new speed limits are in place.

The proposals

We are proposing all roads in Phase 1 will see the following changes:

  • Road signs at the entrance to the road, indicating the speed limit is 20mph
  • Road signs at the end of the road, indicating the speed limit for the road ahead
  • Markings on the road at the entrance, indicating the speed limit is 20mph
  • Smaller repeating signs along each road, in line with Department for Transport guidance, indicating the speed limit is 20mph
  • Some roads may have temporary banners fitted to lamp posts indicating the new 20mph speed limit. These banners will be installed for a maximum of 1 year

In addition to the above, some roads will have further measures (click on each to see):

Equalities

We are subject to the general public sector equality duty set out in section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, which requires us to have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations by reference to people with protected characteristics. The protected characteristics are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. As part of our decision-making process on proposals for new schemes, we have had due regard to any impacts on those with protected characteristics and the need to ensure their interests are taken into account.

In considering the design of our streets, we closely consider the needs of all users throughout the design process. As this scheme is a significant infrastructure project we:

  • Have completed an Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) at the outset of the project, to review potential impacts on equality target groups, including disabled people
  • Will carry out public consultations, including targeted engagement with specific user groups
  • Will continue to ensure we comply with established guidance – such as the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges – which includes detailed requirements for disabled people

The EqIA will be kept under review and updated to reflect any material changes to the proposals.

Click here for our Equality Impact Assessment (PDF 370KB)

Have your say

We would like to know what you think about our proposals to implement a 20mph speed limit in central London. Please tell us by Wednesday 10 July 2019 by completing our survey below.

Alternatively, you can:

* service and network charges apply. Visit tfl.gov.uk/terms for details.

You can also request paper copies of all the consultation materials and a response form, copies in Braille, large text or another language by emailing consultations@tfl.gov.uk or writing to FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS 20.

If you would like information in another language or format please let us know as soon as possible.

City of London 20mph Proposals

To complement our proposals the City of London Corporation is also proposing to introduce a 20mph speed limit on the few remaining streets south of Upper and Lower Thames Street, click here. The change will help to avoid any confusion over the speed limit, reduce the need for additional signage and help to improve road safety. It will bring all roads within the City of London into a 20mph speed limit.

Next Steps

Following the completion of the consultation we will assess all comments received and use this feedback to inform any necessary design changes. We plan to publish the consultation report and the response to issues raised report later this year.

Subject to feedback from the consultation, we are proposing to implement the changes by May 2020.

Areas

  • City of London
  • Lambeth
  • Southwark
  • Tower Hamlets
  • Westminster

Audiences

  • Anyone from any background

Interests

  • Buses
  • Accessibility
  • Taxis
  • Cycling
  • Transport for London Road Network
  • Roads
  • Walking
  • Coaches
  • Air Quality