20mph: A Litmus Test of Public Health Outdoors

Road injuries hurt an estimated 1% of people a year and its rising. Tackling road risk is key to public health improvement outdoors for all ages. Community-wide 20mph limits confer huge health economic returns in casualties avoided and in active travel exercise gains.

194,477 people were recorded road injured in 2014 (a 6% increase over 2013). Including unreported casualties 700,000 (1%) of Britons are estimated road injured yearly. The vast majority involved motorists hitting people. Adding those too frightened to play out, walk or cycle and underactive makes a staggering illness burden from predictable and preventable road risks.  The Department for Transport (2011) estimated that including incidents unreported to the police the value of preventing road crashes was £34.8 billion per year – a whopping £540 per head pa.

With residential 20mph limits Warrington reported a First Year Rate of Return of 800% – the capital costs were recovered in reduced casualty value in just 7 weeks. 20mph limits are a once off cost of approx. £2-3 per head and typically avoid 20% of casualties for years to come.

Wide 20mph limits are best practice according to the World Health Organisation, NICE, Association of Directors of Public Health, Faculty of Public Health, UK Public Health Association, Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health and National Children’s Bureau. 20mph is an evidence-based, cost effective policy whose lower risk and fitness benefits far exceed its costs.  Bristol estimated a £24 per £1 spent benefit to cost ratio on increased walking and over £7 on raised cycling.  Implementation is typically £0.5m per 200,000 population and discounted across future years.

For children, the elderly and health equality for age groups, Britain’s top outdoor public health priority is tightly monitored road danger reduction plans with targets and tight recording (like workplace injuries) with careful reflective learning and application of evidence-based danger mitigation measures.  Proven prevention policies include 20mph limits for built up areas (each 1mph less reduces crashes and casualties 6%), low alcohol tolerance levels, speed enforcement, hidden cameras, in vehicle speed limiters, presumed liability, no texting whilst driving and a Vision Zero (no deaths) goal. We know the solutions. What we need is the multi-agency working, finance and political will to apply them.

Read more on the 20s Plenty for Us website.

No 20mph speed limits in Worcester for at least 2 years

Worcestershire County Council have delayed any decision on making any Worcester streets 20mph until at least 2017.

The Conservative leadership has consistently been against the introduction of 20mph limits and as recently as May voted to reject a Green and Lib Dem motion asking to make it the default speed in built-up areas.

The Conservatives claim to be sceptical about any environmental benefits and the impact on congestion. They have set up a 20mph pilot around some selected streets in Rubery, which is supposedly aimed at exploring if it could be rolled out elsewhere.

The Conservative cabinet says it wants time to assess the outcome of the pilot in detail before looking at any 20mph speed limits in Worcester, thus kicking it into the long grass.

However, the way the County has implemented and will measure the impacts of the Rubery scheme does not adopt best practice from successful schemes implemented in lots of other areas around the UK. Rubery is a minimal engagement pilot and so designed to fail. To conduct a pilot or model you have to understand how the pilot would translate into the real world with an authority-wide implementation. This does not appear to have been done.

Cynically it begs the question as to whether this is deliberate so that they can ‘prove’ 20mph doesn’t work and so be a way to fend off any community pressure for 20mph.

The fact that other places have done 20mph (like 20% of country) means that there already are many existing schemes that council officers could look at and assess, rather than creating their own pilot.

20mph County Council motion defeated

The County Council motion proposed by Councillor Matthew Jenkins was rejected by the ruling Conservatives who all voted against it. There was widespread support from all other groups at the Council.

The motion was as follows:

Many councils across the country, of various party political control, have or are in the process of implementing wide area 20mph speed limits on residential and urban roads without traffic calming. Over 14 million people now live in these areas.

Public health and other bodies such as NICE, Public Health England, the LGA and the WHO all support such a policy. It is described as the most cost-effective way to improve health equality by tackling inactivity, obesity and isolation, whilst also being child, disability, elderly and dementia friendly.

Wide area 20mph limits rarely need any traffic calming measures and in other areas have been shown to be affordable, costing around £3 per person.

Implementing wide area 20mph limits should be a core part of our public health strategy. We therefore ask the County Council to rethink its current policy on 20mph, which restricts where they can be implemented, and call for a Cabinet report into introducing wide area 20mph speed limits on residential and urban roads.

Despite this setback we know that there is strong support for wide area 20mph speed limits both in Worcester and in Worcestershire. We will continue to push for their introduction and work with other local groups to continue the campaign for 20mph speed limits where people live.

20mph It’s miles better! The conference at the heart of the 20mph revolution

Milan is the latest European city to say that 20’s Plenty, or more precisely 30k – Its OK

In the UK we are at the heart of that change with over 20% of the population in places that have or are implementing a 20mph limit for most roads.

The 6th Annual 20mph Places conference is in the Guildhall, Cambridge on 12th March and at a cost from just £125* this could be the best investment made all year.

  • It brings together presenters showing best practice implementations of city-wide 20mph limits in some of our major iconic conurbations.
  • It develops the public health and public sector equality benefits
  • It shows how it is a foundation for a cycling revolution and an urban renaissance.

Learn how 20mph limits go far beyond road safety and tick the many boxes for liveability, active travel, modal shift, noise reduction, casualty reduction and a real saving in future public health costs. Learn how funding can come from many sources rather than transport or road safety. Understand how your PSED relates to setting speed limitsFor Councillors

For officers and consultants in transport and public health

Gain from the real experience of implementations in Cambridge where zones with physically calmed entrances are leading the way in hybrid zonal 20mph limits. Find out about the large roll-out in Manchester and it promotion of community ownership. Learn how Liverpool with their 20Effect programme are leveraging city-pride and identity to make their roll-out successful. See how Calderdale are bringing public health and transport teams together to maximise behaviour change.

For everyone

Hear the keynote presentations and discussions from the leaders in cycle advocacy and pedestrian representation. Chris Boardman MBE and Joe Irvin.

You can download a conference leaflet from http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/20mph_it’s_miles_better.htm and make a direct booking at www.transportXtra.com/events.

* £125+vat rate for public sector booked before 17th Feb. See above links for full delegate rate range.

Campaigners please contact rod.k@20splentyforus.org.uk and there is a free campaigner evening event.

We really look forward to you booking and attending the conference. If you need any further details then please just contact 20s Plenty for Us – details at http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/contact_us.htm