Range of options

Range of options

Taking an area wide approach to the setting of speed limits is better than a patch and mend approach that only focuses on problems at individual locations

There is often pressure to reduce speed limits at a specific location but the evidence shows that short sections of lower speed limits are not as effective. Changing the speed limits of individual areas is more costly per mile of road treated, for example this increases consultation costs. It also adds clutter from having a higher number of the start and end points and can lead to a lack of respect where there are abrupt changes.

It is usually better to consider speed limits from a route or network based approach, for example consistently lowering the speed limit on a main road where it passes through villages or reducing the speed limit in networks of streets in residential areas or of minor rural roads. A single consultation can be carried out for changing speed limits in a wider area and similarly a single traffic order can be used to bring these changes into force. Such an area-wide approach will work better with area wide education and enforcement campaigns - people are more likely to benefit from lower speed limits in their particular area so are more likely to comply with similar changes elsewhere. Where speeds remain too high in certain places then physical changes to the road layout can be implemented, rather than starting off with having traffic calming installed everywhere that the speed limit is lowered.

It is worth reading the shaping routes and networks section to understand the benefits of clearer thinking about different road types. That section also gives more advice about speed limits for different types of road.

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