Today marks exactly 6 months until the legislation changing the default speed limit on restricted roads in Wales from 30mph to 20mph comes into force. Wales is leading the way in improving people’s quality of life – making our streets and communities a safer welcoming place, encouraging more walking and cycling, whilst also helping reduce our environmental impact.
The evidence is clear, decreasing speeds reduces collisions and saves lives. Pedestrians are around five times more likely to be killed when hit by a vehicle travelling at 30mph than a vehicle travelling at 20mph.
In the distance it takes for a car travelling 20mph to stop, a car travelling 30mph would still be moving at 24mph. This makes a substantial difference to avoiding collisions.
Vehicle speeds are one of the main reasons people do not consider active travel alternatives. Introducing lower speeds will support the Welsh Government’s vision for walking and cycling to be the natural mode of choice for short everyday journeys.
Eight trial areas were chosen to determine how best to undertake the 20mph implementation across Wales and to set up long term monitoring for the change. We are continuing to gather data before the national implementation and today we have published the interim monitoring report from these areas. This is very early data however, it is extremely encouraging to see that:
On average, motorists are driving slower in all of the trial areas;
There has been minimal impact on journey times and;
Active travel increases were greater in schools within the eight communities than compared to other schools monitored.
We will continue to gather data from the trial areas, gradually expanding to more extensive monitoring following the national implementation in September.
Alongside the interim report we are also launching a national communications campaign, to help our communities get ready for the change and we’ve been working closely with key stakeholders to raise awareness.
This is a change in the default speed limit rather than a blanket change and our colleagues in Local Authorities are engaging with their communities to determine which roads should retain the 30mph limit, in line with national exceptions guidance.
The Welsh Government has launched an interactive map which will be updated regularly as highway authorities go through the consultation process.
We know this move is as much about changing hearts and minds as it is about enforcement – but over time, 20mph will become the norm. In the coming months you will see far more in the news, social media, and from out of home advertising as we further build the campaign. You can keep up to date with everything at SUB-TOPIC 20mph speed limits and Introducing 20mph speed limits: frequently asked questions