The Department recommends the use of 20 mph
zones with suitable self enforcement through engineering measures.
These use proven techniques known to save significant numbers
of casualties. 20 mph limits alone without traffic calming should
only be used where vehicle speeds are already relatively low,
generally not higher than 24 mph. Legislation was introduced in
1999 to allow local authorities to introduce these measures without
the Secretary of State's consent. Suitable signs were introduced
and guidance was issued at the same time. 20 mph zones and 20
mph speed limits continue to be highly successful in managing
speed in residential and other urban areas. Because 20 mph zones
are self enforcing they function all the time, and to be effective
they do not require additional police resources or speed cameras.
Other forms of traffic calming using humps,
speed cushions and horizontal deflections and markings continue
to be effective in encouraging compliance with speed limits in
urban areas with 30 mph speed limits.
High streets with mixed traffic and diverse
use present a particularly challenging combination of safety problems,
and five demonstration schemes to improve safety on mixed priority
urban routes were announced on 27 November 2001, funded by DTLR
grant totalling £5.5 million. Schemes are aimed at improving
safety and amenity for vulnerable road users and reducing the
impact on communities where main roads pass through areas where
other activity also takes place. This includes areas around shops,
homes, schools, and places of evening entertainment. Two of the
five demonstration sites are in inner city areas: Wandsworth Road,
Lambeth, and Wilmslow Road, Rusholme, Manchester. The others are
Crewe, Cheshire, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire and the City of
Home Zones are redesigned streets in residential
areas. The aim is to change the way streets are used to improve
the quality of life by making them places for people, not just
for traffic. This usually includes design measures to reduce vehicle
speeds to below 10 mph. The road space is shared between motorised
traffic and other road users and the design of schemes takes account
of the wider needs of residents and those on foot or bicycle,
and particularly children. Whilst Home zones may confer road safety
benefits they are not primarily road safety measures.
The Home Zone Challenge experience should increase
our knowledge about how best to actively involve local community
interests in developing home zones that suit their needs and aspirations.
It will identify design processes that can lead to successful
new ways of using residential streets and will help to identify
and expand the range of solutions and constructional techniques
The VISP study (Wheeler et al 1994) is an example
of the challenges faced in the development of acceptable and effective
measures for reducing speeds in rural villages and other areas.
Rural speed management measures that are finding acceptance are:
Countdown signs and carriageway roundels
have a limited effect on speeds and are best used in association
with other measures such as gateways.
Vehicle activated signs have been
used in recent trials in advance of bends or junctions or to remind
drivers of the speed limit. The sign is activated by the speed
of an approaching vehicle exceeding the "trigger" speed.
Findings from the trial are being studied before a decision on
their general use is taken.
Road markings have been used to good
effect for changing the nature and appearance of a road, and the
speed at which people choose to drive. A good example is hatched
centre line markings that can give the impression that roads are
narrower and therefore improve driver discipline. Research is
currently in progress to see how road markings at bends could
give better guidance to drivers.
Good Practice Guide
In June 2001 DTLR published A Road Safety Good
Practice Guide covering all aspects of design and engineering
for safety on urban and rural roads (DTLR 2001b). This document
is the First Edition and was planned as a living reference that
will be maintained and updated as new research evidence and experience
becomes available and is translated into advice. The document
is accessible in full on the DTLR website under Road Safety.