Roads in London have become safer as a result of new 20 mph speed limits, according to the organisation responsible for transport in the capital. Transport for London (TfL) says lowering the speed limit to 20 mph on some roads has seen a noticeable reduction in collisions and a drop in deaths and serious injuries.

The organisation’s own data shows the number of collisions has reduced by 25 percent since the 20 mph limits came into force in March 2020. However, it should be noted that lockdown may have skewed these figures somewhat, given the new limit was introduced as the coronavirus crisis began to take hold.

Nevertheless, the number of collisions resulting in death or serious injury also fell by a similar proportion, down from 94 to 71. Collisions involving vulnerable road users have also reduced, down by 36 percent, while collisions involving people walking have decreased by 63 percent.

20 mph sign shown on London Bridge

To further justify the introduction of the lower speed limit, which is now in force on more than half of London’s roads, TfL points to data suggesting speed was a contributing factor in 48 percent of fatal collisions. What’s more, the organisation says speeds have reduced by between 1.7 mph and 5 mph across “most” sites surveyed. And while TfL has not released figures, it says data “suggests” the 20 mph limit has not increased congestion.

As part of the organisation’s move to clamp down on speed, TfL says it’s working with the Metropolitan Police to increase enforcement. The two authorities are targeting the ability to take action on a million speeding offences a year by 2024, having enforced more than 475,000 offences in the 2021/22 financial year – an increase of 72 percent compared with the previous year.

Penny Rees, TfL’s head of healthy streets investment, said lower speed limits were “crucial” to TfL’s effort to eliminate deaths on its road network, and looked forward to expansion of the 20 mph programme across London.

“It's brilliant to see the huge impact the introduction of 20mph speed limits has had on road safety around London,” she said. “We are determined to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London's roads in line with our Vision Zero goal, and this data proves that lowering speeds is crucial to achieving this goal. The 20 mph speed limits not only save lives, but also encourage Londoners to travel in more active and sustainable ways. We look forward to seeing the expansion of the programme benefit more areas of London.”

20 mph road sign