20mph speed limits are set to become widespread throughout London as part of a plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on the capital’s roads.
More than 2,000 people are killed or seriously injured on London’s streets each year, and to tackle this the Mayor of London, Transport for London (TfL) and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) have launched their Vision Zero action plan.
As well as reduced speed limits in many areas, it also involved the transformation of dangerous junctions, tough safety standards for the design of HGVs and a comprehensive bus safety programme, which includes speed-limiting technology and driver training.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “I don’t accept that deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads are something we just have to put up with.
“Every single death or serious injury results in heartache and tragedy for those affected, and their loved ones.
“Our bold and far-reaching plans being announced today are some of most ambitious in the world, and start from the basis that no death or serious injury on London’s roads should be treated as acceptable or inevitable.
“At the heart of our plans is reducing the dangers of speeding vehicles across London, which is why we’re proposing a new general speed limit of 20mph on TfL roads within the Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ) - protecting cyclists, pedestrians and all road users in the busiest part of the capital.
“The design of vehicles on London’s road is also crucial. That’s why we’re using the latest safety technologies to transform London’s buses and bringing in a world-leading safety standard for lorries, alongside investing record amounts in building new infrastructure to make walking and cycling a safe option in every part of the capital.”
TfL is proposing to make 20mph the new general speed limit on all TfL roads within the CCZ by 2020: 8.9km of new roads within the CCZ will now become 20mph by the end of the mayoral term.
TfL is also proposing the introduction of 20mph speed limits on its road network in many of London’s other town centres and high-risk locations across London by 2024.
Overall TfL is aiming for 150km of new lower speed limits to be introduced on the totality of their road network.
TfL has also identified 73 junctions with the worst safety record and these will be improved under a Safer Junctions programme.
TfL’s ‘Direct Vision Standard’ for HGVs will be the first initiative of its kind in the world to categorise HGVs depending on the level of a driver's direct vision from a cab. This scheme is due to be introduced in 2020 to improve vehicle safety and increase visibility of vulnerable road users.
HGVs will be given a rating between 'zero-star' (lowest) and 'five-star' (highest), with only those vehicles rated 'three-star' and above, or which have comprehensive safety systems, able to operate in London from 2024.
A Bus Safety Standard is also being developed that will identify the latest safety technologies and features to significantly reduce casualties on the bus network.
This could include improved vision for drivers and autonomous emergency braking, as well as redesigned buses both inside and outside.
This Bus Safety Standard will be written into all new bus operator contracts from the end of 2018.
The Vision Zero action plan also includes education campaigns with local communities and schools and safety training for motorcycle and moped riders and cyclists.