Speed Limit Policy Isle of Wight Council

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1 APPENDIX C - 59

2 Speed Limit Policy Isle of Wight Council June 2009 Contents Section 1 Introduction 1.1 Links with the Local Transport Plan Section 2 Speed Limits on Urban Roads and Residential Areas mph Limits mph Zones Section 3 Village Speed Limits Section 4 Rural Roads 4.1 Establishing a Hierarchy on Rural Roads 4.2 Determining the Appropriate Speed Limit Section 5 Consultation Section 6 Proposals and Timescales Section 7 Further Information Appendices Appendix A Speed Assessment Flow Chart C - 6

3 1: Introduction The Department for Transport (DfT) has asked highway authorities across the country to review speed limits on all of their A and B class roads. This process is to be carried out in accordance with the latest guidance set out in DfT Circular 01/2006 Setting Local Speed Limits which supersedes previous guidance 1/93. The DfT has formally requested that the necessary changes on these routes be implemented by This document outlines the approach set out in Circular 01/2006 but also considers the local factors that will contribute to the process. It has been developed primarily for the purpose of reviewing the limits on the Islands A and B class roads, however, the basic principles can be applied to any Island road. The review will lead to a more consistent approach to local speed limits, making it easier for drivers to recognise the limits that apply and increase their understanding of why they are set at the level they are. This will encourage better compliance and will lead to a reduction in the environmental and social impact of travel, including a reduction in casualties. The aim of the review process is: To achieve a safe distribution of speeds which reflect the function of the road and the impact on the local community To achieve an outcome where mean speeds are at or below the signed speed limit for that road To set speed limits that are clear, consistent and evidence led The adoption of this policy does not imply that speed limits should automatically be reduced. Indeed in some cases the assessment may suggest that the existing speed limit may already be inappropriately set too low, and an increased limit could be considered. Also, a change in speed limit will not be used to address a particular hazard or site, such as a junction, bend, or areas of reduced forward visibility. At these locations other speed management or accident mitigation measures are likely to be more effective and will be used before a change in the speed limit Links with the Local Transport Plan The Councils Local Transport Plan is built around seven core objectives which this policy is fundamentally linked to, these are; To increase accessibility for all To encourage and support economic regeneration and prosperity To make Island roads safer To improve local air quality and the environment To tackle congestion To ensure effective management of the highway network To achieve value for money solutions As part of the LTP process the Council also produced a Road Safety Plan which commits us to monitor personal injury collision patterns and undertake investigation of cluster sites to determine if a site will benefit from accident remedial treatment. This work will help us to prioritise sites that may benefit from a revised limit and also identify sites that require further measures to improve compliance to an existing limit. C - 7

4 2: Speed Limits on Urban Roads & Residential Areas On urban roads the standard speed limit is to remain at 30mph with 40mph limits on higher quality suburban roads or those on the outskirts of urban areas where there is little development. In areas where there is a particular risk to vulnerable road users, 20mph limits and zones will be considered where appropriate. Since July 1999, local traffic authorities have been able to implement 20mph limits or 20mph zones without obtaining special consent from the Secretary of State. The DfT supports the implementation of these where there is a particular risk to vulnerable road users such as residential areas, urban shopping areas and in the vicinity of schools. However, the guidance states that they should not be implemented on roads with a strategic function or on a main traffic route. Successful 20mph limits and zones should be self enforcing and should have the support of the police. Consideration will be given to the level of police enforcement required before installing a 20mph limit or zone mph Limits A 20mph speed limit can be implemented on individual roads or on a small number of roads through the erection of appropriate signing alone. However, research has shown that limits which are indicated by signing alone, and not accompanied by traffic calming, have very little effect on vehicle speeds. Therefore, on roads where average vehicle speeds are recorded in excess of 24mph, additional traffic calming measures will need to be installed mph Zones The idea of a zone is to create a network of roads where the nature of the location or traffic calming measures lead to motorists naturally driving at around 20mph. For a 20mph zone to be successful it must have in place speed reducing features of a significant number and appropriate design to be able to reduce the speed of traffic to 20 mph or less without the need for police enforcement. Guidance states that no point within a zone should be more than 50m from a traffic calming feature unless a cul-de-sac less than 80m in length. As part of the Councils One Island project, 20mph limits and zones have been, or will be implemented outside of schools where appropriate. Advisory 20mph limits have been used on routes where a regulatory limit was not possible. 3: Village Speed Limits This review process aims to reduce the impact of vehicle speeds on local communities, therefore, we will use the guidance on village speed limits incorporated in the 2006 Circular. It defines a village (for speed limit purposes) as having: 20 or more houses A minimum length of 600 metres An average density of at least 3 houses per 100 metres. Areas of development that meet these criteria should have a 30mph speed limit. Where a community is less built up, consideration will be given to the presence of key buildings such as a shop, church or school, otherwise a 40mph or 50mph limit may be considered. When villages are less than 600m apart the 30mph limit will extend to cover both sections. C - 8

5 To achieve compliance to village speed limits, it may be necessary to install additional features. Depending on the class of road and the nature of the location these may include road humps, road narrowing measures, gateways, road markings, transverse bars or vehicle activated signs. The cost and environmental impact of these will be evaluated as outlined below. At locations where the limit changes from 60mph to 30mph, a short section of an intermediate limit may be considered where conditions allow. 4: Rural Roads 4.1 Establishing a Hierarchy on Rural Roads We will adopt a two-tier approach to setting speed limits on rural roads, with roads classified into tiers based on there traffic function. Upper tier Main roads and strategic routes Lower tier Roads with a local access function DfT circular 01/2006 categorises roads based on its character and user type and matches them to 60mph, 50mph and 40mph restrictions for upper tier and lower tier roads, with 30mph limits in urban areas and villages where appropriate. This will provide the starting point when considering the appropriate limit, however, for each group, the final choice of limit will reflect the accident rate, the impact on environmental and social objectives, and whether acceptable speeds can be achieved. Upper tier: Strategic road catering for primarily through traffic 60mph: 50mph: 40mph: 30mph High quality strategic roads with few bends, junctions or accesses. Lower quality strategic roads which may have relatively high number of bends, junctions or accesses. Where there is a high number of bends, junctions or accesses, substantial development, where there is a strong environmental or landscape reason or where the road is used by considerable number of vulnerable road users. In urban areas and villages where appropriate Lower tier: Roads that have more of a local access function 60mph: Best quality roads with a mixed function (i.e partial flow and local access) with few bends, junctions or accesses. 50mph: 40mph: 30mph Lower quality roads with a mixed function where there are a relatively high number of bends, junctions or accesses. Roads with a predominately local, access or recreational function or where the road forms part of a recommended route for vulnerable road users. In urban areas and villages where appropriate C - 9

6 4.2 Determining the Appropriate Speed Limit Isle of Wight Council - Speed Limit Policy Once a route has been placed into a tier based on the volume and type of traffic, we will consider the following factors to identify the most appropriate limit. Mean speed The assessment will consider the existing average speed of vehicles on a route as it indicates what the majority of drivers perceive to be a safe speed to travel at. This approach is based on research carried out on behalf of the DfT linking the mean speed of vehicles to accident frequency and severity on different road groups. However, a limit should not be set unnecessarily low or in isolation as it is likely to be ineffective and will lead to disrespect for the speed limit, this will result in significant and avoidable enforcement costs. Collision and casualty statistics The final limit choice will be guided by whether the accident rate is above or below the following thresholds: Upper tier roads 35 injury accidents per 100 million vehicle kilometres Lower tier roads 60 injury accidents per 100 million vehicle kilometres By undertaking an analysis of the types of collisions, their severity, causes and frequency we will be able to identify if a change in speed limit is likely to be beneficial. The level of severance by fast moving traffic 30mph limits will be the norm within villages and urban residential areas, but in areas that do not quite meet the village criteria; and where there is a high pedestrian flow or a key building such as a school may result in periods of high pedestrian flow, consideration will be given to introducing a lower limit. Conditions and facilities for vulnerable road users Many roads on the Island are used for leisure pursuits such as walking, cycling and horse riding. On any road that is used by a high proportion of vulnerable road users and a lack of appropriate facilities exist, consideration will be given to implementing a lower limit, even if the accident rate is below acceptable thresholds. Emissions & environment Vehicle emissions and vehicle noise are greatest at very low and very high speeds. Due to the potential impact on air quality and noise pollution, 20mph limits will not be considered on high volume roads. Level of public anxiety The speed of traffic is often cited as a significant concern for many residents and there will be sites where local knowledge and experience will lead to requests for action. Comments are invited from residents, and these will be considered as part of the review. However, the level of priority a site is given will be based primarily on the technical assessment and collision history. By looking at the character of the road, the speed of vehicles and the level of accidents we will be able to determine if the existing speed limit is appropriate. In some cases the results of this analysis may suggest that the limit needs to be changed. However, we will also consider the potential effects of changing a limit, including; The environmental impact Proposed speeds limits will reflect what is believed to be the safest speed for that road and we will look to implement sufficient measures to achieve this. However, we will always consider the impact that the required signing or engineering features may have on the natural landscape and will consult with relevant parties before installing them. The cost of engineering or other physical measures and their maintenance In some cases it may be necessary to install additional measures to achieve desired vehicle speeds. The cost of implementing this will be measured against the potential accident savings. The cost of enforcement - Any proposed changes in speed limit will be undertaken in consultation with the chief officer of the police in accordance with the processes set out in the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 to ensure that any new limits do not create an unnecessary enforcement problem. C - 10

7 Much of Isle of Wight s rural road network runs through picturesque areas and is subject to the National Speed Limit. Any reduction in speed limit on these roads would require the introduction of a significant amount of signing to comply with the Traffic Sign Regulations. Therefore, on roads where the limit is in the higher bracket for the tier but mean speeds are low and accident levels are below the threshold, the cost of changing the limit for no significant accident reduction would not be justified. In this case we will continue to monitor the accident levels and reduce the limit in the future if the safety record worsened. 5: Consultation Prior to finalising any formal speed limit proposals for public advertisement, consultation seeking support will be undertaken with the following. Police Local Council Member Parish / Town Council Road Haulage Association Freight Transport Association Fire and Rescue Service Ambulance Service Local Bus Operators Local Schools As the Police are the enforcement agency we will consult with them on any proposals at the earliest opportunity and obtain their support prior to the commencement of the formal consultation process. Further consultation with other interested parties is undertaken at the public advertisement stage of the order making procedure. 6: Proposals and Timescales: To carry a review of speed limits on all of the Island s A and B roads in accordance with the guidance set out in DfT Circular 1/2006 and implement necessary changes by Collection and analysis of data Informal consultation with relevant interested parties First phase of proposals at high priority sites Formal consultation and processing of speed limit orders Implement new speed limits The Policy will be reviewed in line with DfT guidance as and when published, and well as being reviewed with all other relevant policy documents as part of the next LTP, which commences April C - 11

8 7: Further Information DfT Circular 1/2006 Setting Local Speed Limits Traffic Advisory Leaflet 2/06 Speed Assessment Framework Traffic Advisory Leaflet 1/04 Village Speed Limits Traffic Advisory Leaflet 9/99 20mph Limits and Zones Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3 (2008) (Pages ) Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (2002) for Local Transport Plan and Road Safety Strategy C - 12

9 Appendix A Flow Chart of Speed Assessment Process The flow chart above illustrates the method of reviewing and applying the most appropriate limit for a particular route. C - 13

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