"Lower speeds have the potential to significantly improve road safety while enhancing the environment for walking and cycling"

The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) today outlined plans for eight new pilots of 20mph speed limits on the TfL road network (TLRN) as part of continuing work to reduce road casualties, increase active travel and enhance the areas where people live, work and shop.

The first confirmed pilot location will be Commercial Street in Tower Hamlets. This is planned to be introduced in April when all borough roads in Tower Hamlets are made 20mph. Once implemented, the route could then be extended out to cover the wider "Shoreditch Triangle" and sections of the A10, in line with Hackney's 20mph borough wide aspirations. The remaining seven pilots could then be introduced throughout 2015 and 2016 on a rolling basis and in line with borough wide introductions where possible.

 Both the Mayor and TfL have long supported 20mph speed limits on borough roads and in the last financial year (2013/14) borough roads totalling more than 280km in length have had the limit introduced, through the Mayor's Local Implementation Plan funding to the boroughs.

Almost 25% of all London roads are now 20mph and London boroughs such as Islington, Camden and the City of London are leading the way with borough-wide 20mph limits on their roads. Hackney is also seeking to introduce 20mph next year.

While some roads in London are primarily traffic arteries keeping the city moving, others are also important places in their own right and therefore lower speed limits may be more appropriate. One of the key recommendations of the Mayor's Roads Task Force, which published its findings in July 2013, was that TfL and the boroughs should look to introduce 20mph speed limits across London "to improve safety, attractiveness and ambience". In response to this TfL has identified around 50km of its road network which could potentially be appropriate for 20mph speed limits.

In 2013 the Mayor and TfL published Safe Streets for London - an ambitious and comprehensive plan to make the roads safer for everyone who uses them. This includes a road safety target for London to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads by 40% by 2020, delivering a total reduction of 10,000 casualties by the end of the decade. Last February, the Mayor and TfL published six commitments that are guiding initiatives to deliver this, and action is being taken to prioritise the safety of the most vulnerable road users - pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists - who account for 80% of those killed and seriously injured on the Capital's streets.

TfL will now work closely with the relevant boroughs to investigate the potential for 20mph speed limit pilots at the following locations:

  • Upper Street and Holloway Road (between Pentonville Road and Seven Sisters Road)
  • Westminster Bridge, Stamford Street and Southwark St (between Victoria Embankment and Borough High Street - this trial would also incorporate the previous 20mph trial at Waterloo Roundabout)
  • Brixton Town Centre (between St Matthews Road and Stockwell Park Walk)
  • Clapham High Street (between Clapham Park Road and Bedford Road, which forms part of Cycle Superhighway 7)
  • Earls Court Road and Redcliffe Gardens (between A4 Cromwell Road and Fulham Road)
  • Kings Cross Road and Farringdon Road (between Pentonville Road and Charterhouse Road, linking up with the previous 20mph trial along Farringdon St and Blackfriars Bridge)
  • Camden Street (between Camden Road and Crowndale Road)

These routes, which could spread across seven boroughs, would build on already ongoing pilots of 20mph by TfL at Waterloo IMAX roundabout and on two key routes through the City of London. A 20mph speed limit has already been introduced along Camberwell New Road and at New Cross Gate to improve local conditions for cyclists, and is also being considered, subject to consultation, into the wider road improvement scheme at Elephant & Castle Northern roundabout.

The speed limits would be introduced under an 18 month experimental order and will be subject to detailed monitoring. Traffic speeds, casualty data, safety perceptions and the number of cycling and walking trips would be monitored along with the effects on bus and traffic journey times, to assess whether to make the reduced speed limits permanent.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: `Lower speeds have the potential to significantly improve road safety while enhancing the environment for walking and cycling. As well as actively supporting and funding the installation of 20mph zones and limits on borough roads across London, we have also been looking at the TfL Road Network to see where further 20 mph limits could provide significant benefits. These locations will help us to better understand the role that 20 mph limits could play going forward.'

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, said: `We are working extremely closely with all London boroughs to help reduce the number of road casualties that occur every year in London, but also to increase active travel such as walking and cycling and enhance the areas where people live, work and shop. Although large sections of the TfL Road Network are main arterial roads, some sections pass through busy town centres, which are more attuned to lower speed limits as they have high pedestrian and cyclist numbers. Piloting 20mph speed limits form a key part of our continuing work to make central London safer, pleasant and more attractive for all.'

Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, said: `I am committed to making our streets and roads safer for all users to reduce accidents and injuries. The introduction of a 20mph limit is an effective starting point to achieve this aim.'

Matt Winfield, Sustrans London Deputy Director, said: `This is a bold move from Transport for London to improve some of London's busiest streets. The advantages of 20mph go beyond the obvious gains in road safety - lowering the speed limit also helps to make our city a more comfortable and pleasant place to be. Our research shows that Londoners are keener than anywhere else in the UK to walk or cycle to school if their route was on 20mph streets. On the back of these new trials I hope to see more London boroughs adopt 20mph.'

Tom Platt, Living Streets London Policy and Campaigns Manager, said: `These trials are great news for everyone living, working and visiting London. Councils across the city are now recognising that lower speed limits significantly improve the quality of our streets reducing road danger and creating a more inviting place to walk and spend time. The roads included in this trial are busy, people centred places and completely appropriate for a 20mph speed limit. Making walking safer and easier is the best way to encourage people to build some physical activity into their day.'

TfL is investing an unprecedented £4billion in London's road network, ensuring the Capital remains a thriving international city that supports economic growth and provides safe and attractive spaces for everyone. The new Metropolitan Police Roads and Transport Policing Command (RTPC), made up of over 2,300 officers and part-funded by TfL, continues to tackle dangerous behaviour by road users across the Capital. Safety cameras across London are being upgraded to new digital cameras which will have the capability to help police enforce 20mph speed limits.

TfL also continues to maintain its newly updated 'Digital Speed Limit' map for London, which is helping to support the development of the next generation of in-vehicle technologies and mobile phone apps for the road. Making such information freely available, and keeping it accurate, means existing services such as sat-navs and GPS can provide drivers with the best information on the speed limit of the roads they are travelling on, giving them greater certainty, helping them to keep safe and avoid speeding penalties. The data will also be used in TfL's forthcoming trials of Intelligent Speed Assistance software on London Buses, which will begin later this year.

For more information about the work TfL is carrying out to make roads safer, please visit http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadsafety and http://www.tfl.gov.uk/corporate/about-tfl/how-we-work/planning-for-the-future/roads-task-force.

In February 2014 the Mayor and TfL published six safety commitments, which supports the Safe Streets for London plan to reduce further the number of people killed or seriously injured on London's roads by 40% by 2020, and brings focus to the range of actions needed by TfL and partners to make London's streets safer: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/cdn/static/cms/documents/safe-london-streets-our-six-road-safety-commitments.pdf

The six key commitments are:

  1. To lead the way in achieving a 40% reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the capital's roads by 2020 - with a longer term ambition of freeing London's roads from death and serious injury;
  2. To prioritise safety of the most vulnerable groups - pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists - which make up 80% of serious and fatal collisions;
  3. To provide substantial funding for road safety, invested in the most effective and innovative schemes;
  4. To increase efforts with the police and enforcement agencies in tackling illegal, dangerous and careless road user behaviour that puts people at risk;
  5. To campaign for changes in national and EU law to make roads, vehicles and drivers safer;
  6. To work in partnership with boroughs and London's road safety stakeholders to spread best practice and share data and information