london junction

London’s road network to be revamped in safety plan

Image credit: Dreamstime

Lower speed limits, changes to dangerous junctions and tough safety standards for HGVs and buses will be introduced to London’s transport networks in a bid to reduce deaths and serious injuries.

The ‘Vision Zero’ action plan from Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London will see a new 20mph speed limit introduced on all TfL-managed roads within the Congestion Charging Zone. These are major non-motorway roads, known as 'red routes'. Most quieter residential roads are the responsibility of individual boroughs.

New safety standards for Heavy Goods Vehicles and buses are also being developed including speed-limiting technology and a training course for drivers.

Each year more than 2,000 people are killed or seriously injured on London’s streets. A report last year called for more stringent safety targets for bus operators after 25 people were found to have died in the previous two years.

Under the plan, the Mayor has set a number of targets including reducing the number of deaths by 65 per cent by 2022 and zero fatalities from buses by 2030.

TfL is proposing to make 20mph the general speed limit on all TfL roads within the Congestion Charging Zone by 2020, prioritising the part of the capital with a high volume of vulnerable road users including people who walk, cycle or use a motorcycle.

8.9km of new roads within the zone will now become 20mph by the end of the Mayoral term to fulfil this ambition.

The likelihood of a collision, and resulting death or serious injury, increases substantially as vehicle speed increases.

If someone who is walking is hit by a vehicle at 20mph, they are five times less likely to be killed than if they were hit at 30mph.

If someone is hit by a car doing 30mph they have a 40 per cent chance of being killed; if someone is hit at 20mph they have a 90 per cent chance of surviving. Furthermore, for each 1mph reduction in speed there is an associated 6 per cent reduction in collisions in urban areas, TfL said.

Major works are to be undertaken on the most dangerous junctions in London, with 73 being identified as having the worst safety record.

The measures follow last week’s “walking action plan” which is designed to encourage residents of the capital to choose walking as their primary mode of transport when possible. 

“I don’t accept that deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads are something we just have to put up with,” said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. “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 - protecting cyclists, pedestrians and all road users in the busiest part of the capital.

“The design of vehicles on London’s roads 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.”

Last year plans were announced to extend London’s congestion charge so that the most heavily polluting cars and vans would incur an additional daily fee of £12.50 to enter the city centre from 2019. 

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