Urgent changes in how road speed is managed, especially in rural areas, is needed, according to the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT).
In its new policy position on speed management, ADEPT is calling for the adoption of the 2019 Department for Transport Safe System approach to be adopted to manage road speed, rather than national speed limits.
Most fatalities occur on rural single carriageways, according to Department for Transport (DfT) data, with the 60mph limit a particular cause for concern, says ADEPT.
The safe system approach adopts five key elements: safe road use, safe speeds, safe vehicles, post-crash care and safe roads and roadsides.
ADEPT argues that using this system to set road speed would encourage safer driving, as local highways authorities (LHAs) would have the ability to set an appropriate speed.
The new policy position also calls for providing local highways authorities with longer-term funding certainty to implement speed management changes and make road safety improvements; and the development of a speed management toolkit to enable greater uniformity across LHAs and provide more consistency for drivers.
ADEPT would also like Government to enable speed management decision-making based on wider benefits, including for cyclists and pedestrians, rather than using only serious injury and mortality statistics.
Alongside the adoption of a safe system approach, this would ensure speed management is appropriate for all road users, it says.
Ann Carruthers, chair of ADEPT’s transport and connectivity board, explained that, with budgets for LHAs having reduced “significantly”, road safety and speed management no longer have the “long-term certainty they have historically enjoyed”.
“This has led to a marked reduction in consistency and approach across the country, with a particular issue for rural single carriageways and is why ADEPT are calling for a national strategy, properly funded and resourced,” she said.
ADEPT’s Speed Management Policy Position is available on the ADEPT website.