Road Safety News

Atkins’ 20mph report - interim findings revealed at 20’s Plenty conference

Thursday 3rd March 2016

A report into 20mph zones, commissioned by the DfT, has provided ‘very positive interim results’, according to 20’s Plenty for Us.

The interim results of the study, carried out by Atkins, were revealed during the seventh national ‘Ready for 20mph’ conference which was held in London on 26 February.

The Atkins findings, based on thousands of interviews and questionnaires in 15 case study areas, reveal that 75% of those interviewed supported 20mph limits after implementation, compared with 50% before.

Two thirds of drivers interviewed said the new limits were a ‘good idea’. 60% of residents thought that 20mph had provided a safer environment, while three quarters felt that 20mph limits were beneficial for their community.

At the 20’s Plenty conference, which attracted almost 100 attendees, councillor Ramesh Patel, Cardiff’s cabinet member for transport, planning and sustainability, announced that 20mph limits will be implemented across the city.

In a UK first, the Cardiff scheme will be part funded by motoring fines.

The conference also included presentations from councillors and transport and public health officers from the City of London, Edinburgh, Bristol, Transport for London and Lambeth who outlined their ‘successful 20mph implementations’.

David Davies, exec director of PACTS, presented on 'safe system, safe speed'. He reviewed the evidence on outcomes of 20mph and 30kph limits and concluded that these showed modest speed reductions. He called for more focus on establishing outcomes and for lower limits to be backed with other measures. He suggested new vehicle technology such as ISA might help.

Talking about the conference, Rod King MBE, founder of 20’s Plenty for Us, said: “From the hosting and venue to the presentations and presenters, this was an excellent, informative and inspiring conference which reflects the huge success that the 20’s Plenty movement are achieving.”

FOOTNOTE: all of the conference presentations, including the Atkins' presentation can be downloaded here.


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Comment Re Jane McCourt's postings:

Jane, The link you provide mentions 20mph "Zones" between 1986 and 2006 in London. These are most likely to have physical traffic calming as per the regulations in the UK at the time. Presently I think the vast majority of 20mph speed limits are implemented as "Areas" i.e. they are sign-only so there is a difference to take into account there.
Also is there any difference is exposure to road risk between Sweeden and UK/Britain?England? Do UK children cycle/walk more or are child seats used less here. Are there more Volvo's per capita in Sweeden etc etc? What is the distribution and type and overall length of roads subject to 20mph in each country? How much of the 20mph speed limits are backed up by physical traffic calming measures or on new estate roads built to more modern safer by design standards? All of these factors and others need to be accounted for before we can state that 20mph "speed limits" result in "fewer casualties".

As for the Atkins Interim Report it appears to be a summary of people's opinions. What I am really looking forward to are the long term casualty based results. People's opinions are vital for any public programme to succeed but at the end of the day isn't it casualty rates which will be the real measure of success?
Nick, Lancashire

Agree (6) | Disagree (1)

Road Safety GB is endeavouring to obtain more details of the data on which the Atkins presentation is based. Currently there is insufficient data beyond the main qualitative survey summaries to enable us to comment. We will share any information we are able to obtain.
Honor Byford, Chair, Road Safety GB

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In response to Derek Reynolds re meteor: Do you have any evidence for that comment?
Jane McCourt Westgate on Sea

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In response to Paul Biggs
Some evidence here - actually there is loads of evidence if you look for it. UK has twice as many child deaths per capita than in Sweden - Sweden has default speed limit in residential areas of 30kph (18mph).
Jane McCourt Westgate on Sea

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Ask the general public for an opinion on whether Earth could be struck by a life devastating meteor in the next fifty years, and most would say yes - based on what they have heard without any substantial belief or evidence.
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (13) | Disagree (8)

Fair enough Rod - I was just surprised that a consultant's report's findings were based, so far at least, on nothing more scientific than drivers' and residents' perceptions of speed changes. One thing drivers could be asked, if driver surveys are going to be done at all, is were they aware of the actual speed limit in the road? I feel a lot of the time drivers either don't notice (because of poor signing) or sadly, aren't interested enough to want to check anyway.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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My quote "analysis of speed, flow and accident data" is taken from the 4th slide in their presentation.

Slide 5 refers to "what impact schemes have had" and includes "compliance, speed reduction and driver behaviour".

I don't see any ambiguity or reason to not believe that these will not be measured, analysed or included in the final report.

Of course in authority-wide 20mph schemes the big benefit is that even small reductions in average speed are spread across the whole network where they are implemented, unlike isolated schemes which have minimal or zero effect on the wider network.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (5) | Disagree (11)

Rod: Are actual measured speed reductions going to be forthcoming at all? I note Atkins report refers to 'analysis of the relevant data' but still seems to be based only residents' and drivers' perceptions of reductions. The acid test on 20 schemes seems to me to be what the actual average speeds can be reduced to and if they can be sustained with signed only schemes and not physical traffic calming.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

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Thanks Rod - for ease we have added to the story a link to the page where all of the presentations can be downloaded.
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

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I agree with earlier posts - is there nothing more than public opinion? Nothing about the effect on casualties? I'm sure that if casualties had fallen in 20mph zones, that would have been the headline. And increased casualties would certainly be newsworthy.
Eric Bridgstock, St Albans

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We put the link to the presentations within the body of our press release. This may be opened from the link to our press release within the body of your article.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

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According to the presentation made, the main evaluation with data collection and analysis from April 2015 onwards includes "analysis of speed, flow and accident data". Hence it would appear that the basis of Paul Biggs' maligning the competence of Atkins is that the "interim report" is, ergh "interim?

Regarding his "claims" that measurements reveal 90% of drivers ignoring 20mph limits with little reduction in speed. Could you provide the source so that we can all consider the claim objectively?
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (9) | Disagree (10)

Sarah - the Atkins study has not yet been published - the conference presentation was an interim report. Not sure whether their conference presentation (and the other presentations) is available in the public domain - hopefully, Rod King may be able to advise on this?
Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety News

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Can anyone provide me with a link to the Atkins study please?
Sarah Collins , Chester

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I'd have to agree with Paul's comment. If I'd commissioned a report from a firm of consulting engineers, I would expect something a little more er..technical and robust for my money and not what appears to be just a public opinion survey. As it's just an interim report however, perhaps the best is yet to come?
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (18) | Disagree (3)

So no scientific study of 20mph limits, just surveys. The best way to measure effectiveness and acceptance is to measure vehicle speeds, which often reveals 90% of drivers ignoring 20mph and little reduction in speed. Replies to surveys often don't reconcile with real opinion or actions.
Paul Biggs, Staffordshire

Agree (20) | Disagree (11)

From time to time in Cardiff traffic I wish I could go as fast as 20mph.
Pat, Wales

Agree (15) | Disagree (0)