Safe speeds

Watch your speed. The limit's changing

From 2 March 2020, the roads we operate and manage within the central London Congestion Charging Zone will have a new speed limit of 20mph. Some of these have an existing speed limit of 20 mph, however 19 of 37 of these will be new.

Download a PDF of the 20mph roads in inner London map.

Map showing new and existing 20 mph roads in Central London
  1. Albert Embankment
  2. Millbank
  3. Lambeth Bridge
  4. Lambeth Palace Road
  5. Westminster Bridge
  6. Victoria Embankment
  7. York Road
  8. Stamford Street
  9. Blackfriars Bridge
  10. Farringdon Street
  11. Farringdon Road
  12. Kings Cross Road
  13. Blackfriars Road
  14. Westminster Bridge Rd
  15. St Georges Road
  16. London Road
  17. Elephant and Castle
  18. Southwark Street
  19. Upper Thames Street
  20. Lower Thames Street
  21. Borough High Street
  22. Great Dover Street
  23. London Bridge
  24. Gracechurch Street
  25. Bishopsgate
  26. Byward Street
  27. Tower Hill
  28. Aldgate gyratory including: Leman Street, Prescot Street, Mansell Street, Shorter Street, Minories and Goodman's Yard
  29. Whitechapel High Street
  30. Tower Bridge
  31. St Thomas's Street
  32. Part of Druid Street (between Crucifix Lane and Tower Bridge Road)
  33. Crucifix Lane
  34. Part of Bermondsey Street (between Crucifix Lane and Tooley Street)
  35. Part of Queen Elizabeth Street (between Tooley Street and Tower Bridge Road)
  36. Part of Tooley Street (between Duke Street Hill and Tower Bridge Road)
  37. Duke Street Hill
TfL road with 20mph speed limit

20mph roads for 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

For example, if you hit someone at 30mph they're five times more likely to die than if you hit them at 20mph. That's why this new limit is so important and why we ask for you as a driver to watch your speed as you're driving through central London.

Diagram shows increased vehicle speed from 20mph to 30mph results in five times more fatal injuries

Read tips on how to drive safely in London.

Speed limit enforcement in London

The Metropolitan Police enforce all speed limits in London. They do this using on-street officers, mobile speed cameras and fixed speed cameras. In 2018, 154,785 people were caught and penalised for speeding related offences, including 38,878 on 20mph limit roads.

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

What happens next

The second phase will look at 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. We are starting with our roads in the borough of Westminster and will be asking for your views this summer

We've completed a risk analysis to identify roads in inner and outer London where speeds should be lowered to reduce the risk of road users being killed and seriously injured, focusing on town centres and roads with the highest risk of a collision occurring.

The risk analysis considers:

  • The number of deaths and serious injuries that have occurred on the road
  • Current levels of walking and cycling
  • Predicted future levels of walking and cycling
  • Speed limit of surrounding streets
  • If the road has a town centre, or another location with high volumes of people walking or cycling
  • If lower speeds on TfL roads would increase traffic in local streets 

This might mean speeds will be lowered along some roads from 50mph to 40mph, or from 40mph to 30mph.

We'll be engaging with local communities and road users about how we introduce these limits as we lower speeds across the city.

Lowering speeds with self-enforcing speed limits

There are many different ways to encourage people to drive at lower speeds, but evidence shows that self-enforcing speed limits are the most successful way to reduce speeds.

A self-enforcing speed limit means that people are more likely to drive within the signed speed limit because they feel it's the easiest and safest speed to drive along that road. This is generally because of the way the road looks and has been designed.

Some of the design and engineering measures used to lower speeds are:

  • Signs
  • Road markings
  • Speed cushions
  • Speed bumps
  • Raising pedestrian crossings
  • Widening footways for people walking
  • Giving more space to people cycling
  • Removing the white line in the centre of a road
  • Changing the surface of the road
  • Creating curves along the road that requires vehicles travelling in different directions have to slow down or give way
  • Introducing more traffic islands in the centre of the road
  • Placing trees, planters and parklets along the roadside or in the centre of the road

There's no 'one size fits all' approach to reducing vehicle speeds. We use different measures depending on the type of road, who uses the road and the road space available.

We'll continue to monitor the effectiveness of these measures in lowering speeds, so we can determine if more design changes are needed.

Effect on traffic and pollution

Imperial University's evaluation of 20mph zones in London shows they have no net negative impact on exhaust emissions.

It also shows that in 20mph zones vehicles move more smoothly, with fewer accelerations and decelerations, than in 30mph zones. This smoother driving style actually reduces particulate emissions from tyre and brake wear.

Read a summary of Imperial University's research (PDF).

We closely monitor changes we make to our roads. This may include looking at possible effects on nearby roads as needed. You can see more of our work and research to into reducing road danger on the Road Safety Publications and Reports page.

Achieving lower speeds: the toolkit

We've published a toolkit outlining the various speed reduction measures that can be used when designing streets in London.

It can be used by anyone seeking to make our streets safer, healthier and more attractive for walking and cycling. However, it will be of particular relevance to those responsible for implementing specific speed reduction programmes on the Transport for London (TfL) Road Network and local roads managed by the London boroughs.