London intensifies efforts to achieve Vision Zero

Authorities in London have announced plans to trial a default 20mph speed limit on all residential roads, as they look to step up efforts to achieve Vision Zero by 2041.

TfL says lowering speeds remains one of the most important things that can be done to reduce road danger – and as a result will be accelerating the delivery of its 20mph speed limit programme.

This means that by 2024, 220km of TfL roads will have a 20mph speed limit, up from 80km today and 35km in 2016. 

TfL will also be recommending to the Government that they collaborate on a pilot project to trial a 20mph default speed limit on all residential roads in London.

Meanwhile, a significant increase in speed enforcement will be undertaken by the Met Police to tackle the risk and harm caused by speeding. 

This will be done by increasing capacity to enforce up to one million offences by 2024/25, introducing new technology to improve effectiveness of enforcement and rolling out new powers to Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) so that they can stop speeding vehicles.

Chief supt Simon Ovens, who leads road and transport policing in London, said: “We know that excess speed is directly linked to deaths and serious injuries on London roads and we are proud to work with TfL on the Vision Zero plan. 

“We will be continuing to drive up our work to tackle speeding and take enforcement action against those motorists that put other road users at unnecessary risk. Giving our PCSOs new powers, extends our ability to take action and makes a statement that speeding will not be tolerated.”

London has made ‘huge strides’ in reducing road death
TfL, in partnership with the mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the Met Police, launched the Capital’s first Vision Zero action plan in 2018.

It aims to eliminate death and serious injury from London’s roads by 2041.

In a new Vision Zero progress report published on 15 November, TfL, London Councils and the Met Police say huge strides have been made in reducing road deaths since then. 

London’s world-first Direct Vision Standard, which reduces lethal blind spots on lorries, is now being enforced on all roads in London – while TfL’s ground-breaking bus safety standard is mandating the latest safety technologies and designs on all new buses.

Working in partnership with the boroughs, 260km of safer, high-quality cycle routes have been delivered, 43 dangerous junctions improved, and more than 100 Low Traffic Neighbourhoods and 322 School Streets introduced. 

London has also seen deaths and serious injuries fall faster than the national average with the number of people being killed or seriously injured reducing by 52% in 2020 against the Government’s 2005-09 baseline.

The report also highlights the scale of the Vision Zero challenge in London – and commits to new tougher measures, such as the default 20mph limits for residential roads.

TfL will continue to work with the boroughs to expand the Capital’s cycle network – including through the delivery of 30km of new or upgraded cycle routes in 2021/22.

It will also continue the Safer Junctions programme – and work is now underway to make it safer and easier for people walking by implementing a prioritised programme of new pedestrian crossings, including at high-risk junctions where there are none currently.

TfL adds that it remains concerned that people riding motorcycles, including mopeds and scooters, make up only 3% of vehicle kilometres but account for 32% of people killed in London in 2020. 

It is working with delivery companies and motorcyclists to understand how to better safeguard people riding motorcycles for work. 

This includes developing a motorcycle safety review tool, tested with stakeholders, to improve safety on corridors with the highest harm with the aim of piloting the tool in the future.

TfL is also launching a new communications campaign to ‘challenge a deep-rooted culture’ in which some Londoners still believe that death and serious injury on our streets is inevitable. Advertising will run on TV and in cinema, alongside roadside posters.

Sadiq Khan said: “Each and every death or serious injury on London’s roads is a tragedy for those affected and their loved ones. I refuse to accept these terrible incidents are inevitable, which is why I am so keen to intensify the work we are already doing to reduce the number of deaths on our roads. 

“This report contains bold and ambitious plans to change the way we use London’s roads, with lower speed limits being introduced and more collaboration with London boroughs to improve dangerous junctions. 

“But we are also looking to change people’s behaviour, with the campaign launched today challenging people’s views around road culture to make our roads safer for all, particularly more vulnerable users like pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.  

“We have already made some good progress – but we cannot be complacent. There is still much more to do to eradicate deaths and serious injuries from our streets.”

17 November 2021