Safer streets from reduced traffic (2)

Questions to the Mayor of London – answered on 8th January 2021.

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Photo of Caroline Russell Caroline Russell Green

Reduced traffic volumes, particularly during the first lockdown earlier this year, seemed to lead to a reduction in serious and fatal collisions but an increase in extreme speeding. What have you learnt from this, and will it lead to new policy measures to help you achieve Vision Zero?

From Travel in London 13 summary

Photo of Sadiq Khan Sadiq Khan Mayor of London

As your question identifies, the reduced traffic volumes during the first lockdown were associated with increased police reports of instances of extreme speeding, as well as evidence of increases in average speeds on all classes of street in London.

Transport for London (TfL) has already identified appropriate speeds as a key element of its ‘safe system’ approach to Vision Zero. The Vision Zero Action Plan sets out a range of measures to ensure that vehicle speeds are appropriate to London’s streets and safe for everyone using those spaces. The Plan includes measures around lowering speed limits in appropriate locations, using street design to encourage compliance, and targeted enforcement in partnership with the police.

The patterns of behaviour and casualties that have emerged during 2020 indicate that a proportion of drivers do wish to speed and will do so if the conditions allow. We cannot tolerate this illegal and dangerous behaviour, and TfL is working with the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to reduce opportunities for speeding and to robustly enforce limits. During 2020, TfL has completed the first phase of its lowering speed programme, reducing speed limits on the Transport for London Road Network within the Congestion Charging Zone. It has also introduced temporary 20mph speeds limits on an additional 20km of London’s streets as part of the Streetspace programme.

TfL has also continued its marketing and communications encouraging speed compliance and worked with the MPS to increase speed enforcement. For example, from the end of March to the end of October, the MPS issued 22,362 Traffic Offences Reports for speeding, a 199% rise compared with the same period in 2019.