Why Review the 20mph scheme?2019-07-09T17:03:57+01:00

To fulfil a mayoral manifesto commitment by Mayor Marvin Rees, to review the current speed limits on residential and busy shopping roads and assess if any changes are required in order to improve its effectiveness.

The aim of the 20mph review is to identify whether any localised adjustments are needed in order to improve its effectiveness of the 20mph speed limit across the City. It is not about whether the 20mph speed limit should be in place. The public consultation was carried out between June and Aug 2018, with Councillors in an active role.

This Council consultation received one of the highest ever level of responses from the public with nearly 3500 responses received both via the online consultation page and through paper versions available in the local community.

View the results of the 20mph Review

Why has the 20mph Review taken so long?2019-07-09T17:02:36+01:00

This Bristol City Council consultation received one of the highest ever level of responses from the public with nearly 3500 responses received both via the online consultation page and through paper versions available in the local community. This was a vital process of gathering local information for each unique location, as well as, collating 357 further suggestions made via the consultation. Processing and analysing this information and data takes substantial time.

View the results of the 20mph Review

Why has the decision been taken to make no changes to the speed limits in Bristol after the review?2019-07-09T17:00:58+01:00

The review process considered each of the roads identified for review on a case-by-case basis including a wide range of views contributed by respondents; all of which matter and all are taken into account.

The majority of respondents to the 20mph Review (publically consulted on in summer 2018) were in favour of the current speed limit. Each road also considered by its speed data, and also by changes in local circumstances.

Recommendations of appropriate extra measures have been made to extra lines and signs.

View the results of the 20mph Review

Did you review all of the roads in Bristol?2019-07-10T15:21:49+01:00

No, the aim of the 20mph review is to identify whether any localised adjustments are needed in order to improve its effectiveness of the 20mph speed limit across the City. The 90 roads included in for Review were roads identified from information gathered through local Councillors, the public and stakeholders, and through the UWE Monitoring Report (BRITE).

Find out what people think about 20mph

View the results of the 20mph Review

How was the 20mph review evaluated?2019-07-10T15:22:48+01:00

Respondents were also asked about their support for 20mph speed limits. Headline results from those who responded to the following questions in the summer’s 20mph Review revealing:

  • 95% of the people support 20mph outside schools
  • 74% of people support 20mph on residential roads
  • 44% of people support 20mph on main roads.

90 specific roads were identified for review from information gathered through Councillors, the public and stakeholders and through the UWE Monitoring Report (BRITE), since the introduction of the scheme in 2012.  Respondents could state their preference of speed for each road and give their reasons; there was also space to comment on ‘any other road’ so not limiting people to the ones chosen.

For each of the 90 roads identified for review, evidence was considered for each unique case, in terms of:

  • public opinion/perspective/experience
  • changes to roads/environments/ landuse
  • speed data

On roads where the speed data was higher than 24mph for both ATC and/or Strategis on 20mph roads or lower than 24mph on 30mph these were flagged.

Within the consultation there was also the opportunity to name ‘other roads’ and make comments accordingly stating whether they wanted to retain the current speed limit and provide a reason. In total a further 357 roads were identified (mostly by one person each, although some were repeated by others) and have been categorised into the following actions based on comments received:

  • Investigate speeds
  • No action required
  • Out of scope

Those that were identified to ‘Investigate Speeds’ needed no change after speed data analysis was performed.

How did you decide on actions to take as a result of the 20mph Review?2019-07-09T16:53:44+01:00

Out of the 90 roads that were reviewed only 17 roads were flagged as requiring further consideration based on the consultation response, speed data and road layout changes. Of these only 5 had speed data where changes to the speed limit could be considered and these roads were considered in the briefing.

  • 9 do not need any action (Hotwell Road, Kingsway, Coombe Lane, Novers Lane, Parry’s Lane – 20mph section, Sea Mills Lane, Redcatch Road – hill section, Allison Road and Kellaway Avenue).
  • 8 with slightly higher speeds will benefit from additional measures such as lines and signs or a Vehicle Activated Sign and/or community led activities such as Community Speed Watch where suitable, (Clanage Road, Charlton Road, Fortfield Road, Ladies Mile, Hallen Road, Whitefield/Brook Road, South Liberty Lane and Clifton Down).

Of the 5 where speed data presented a possible change the following summarises the decisions agreed, taking into consideration the majority support in each case for no change:

  • South Liberty Lane – speeds higher than 24mph, but 62% of respondents want to retain 20mph
  • Kellaway Avenue – speed low enough for 20mph, but 52% of respondents want to retain 30mph
  • Allison Road – speeds close to 24mph, but 72% of respondents want to retain 30mph
  • Clifton Down – speed higher than 24mph, but 57% of respondents want to retain 20mph
  • Redcatch Road (hill section) – speeds close to 24mph, but 68% of respondents want to retain 30mph
What actions have been taken for the other roads that were put forward by respondents to the consultation?2019-07-09T16:52:07+01:00

Of the ‘other roads’ that have been categorised as ‘investigate speeds’ this recommendation involves further analysis to provide actual speed information to see if there is an issue or whether it is perception. Therefore of these 357 roads, 42 roads will require further investigation and 187 require no further action and 128 are out of scope of the project.

In your recommendations for action, what do you mean by additional measures?2019-07-09T16:49:47+01:00

The ‘additional measures’ recommended in the 20mph Review refer to extra signage that will help raise awareness of the 20mph speed limits and increase driver compliance to them. Roads put forward for additional measures will be reviewed to make sure signage is positioned as effectively as possible (subject to suitable locations with existing infrastructure).

The 20mph speed limits are signed by large 20mph signs as you enter an area with a different speed limit (legally required) and you will see smaller repeaters signs saying ‘20’ as you continue to drive through this area. These are sometimes accompanied by 20 roundels painted on the road. As you exit a 20mph speed limit you will see a large speed sign showing the new speed limit you are now entering.


In some locations, a Vehicle Activated signs (VAS) may be recommended. These are electronic signs which only become triggered (visible) when approaching motor vehicles are exceeding a certain speed.

Community-led activities2019-07-10T15:25:56+01:00

Other additional measure include Community-led activities such as forming a Community SpeedWatch, where a group of local residents monitor speeds at a given location, motorists exceeding the speed limit will be contacted by the Police who take an educational approach to raise awareness of the impact of their anti-social driving behaviour on the community.

Drivers in Bristol are also encouraged to become a pace car and display a free ‘20mph A Little Bit Slower. A Whole Lot Better’ car sticker.

By driving at 20mph and displaying the car sticker in your rear windscreen, you will act as a pace car. When people are driving behind you they will see the sticker and understand why you are driving at 20mph.

Find it hard to stay at 20mph?  Read these top ten tips to stay within the speed limit

Become a pace car window sticker photo

How was the implementation of 20mph project evaluated?2019-07-10T15:28:12+01:00

The 20mph speed limit implementation was completed in September 2015 and included a monitoring programme. In February 2018 the Bristol Twenty Miles Per Hour Limit Evaluation (BRITE) study was published by the University of the West of England (UWE).  This independent peer reviewed report assessed the impact of 20mph speed limits and found a reduction in road speeds and fatalities following road collisions since the lower speeds were introduced. Analysis including using individual speed data from over 36 million vehicle observations, found 94% of surveyed roads have slower speeds, active travel levels have increased and there was a significant reduction in the number of fatal, serious and slight injuries and potentially significant financial savings for the NHS.

This research report took a holistic, public health approach to evaluation, using a variety of data sources to examine: changes in vehicle speeds; road traffic casualties; levels of walking and cycling; public perceptions and attitudes; and reported levels of health and wellbeing across the communities in Bristol before and after the introduction of 20mph speed limits across Bristol.

Read the UWE BRITE report

Do 20mph speed limits work? Some national studies haven’t shown any proof.2019-07-09T16:20:13+01:00

The most recent national study (Atkins, Nov, 2018) commissioned by the Department of Transport confirms public support and acceptance of 20mph limits, but says “The comparator analysis indicates that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that there has been a significant change in collisions and casualties following the introduction of 20mph limits in residential areas, in the short-term”.

This study only looked at 12 case studies, which did not include monitoring data from the Bristol 20mph scheme.

DfT – 20mph Research Study – Headline and Technical Reports

While the annual British Social Attitude Surveys: Public attitudes towards transport have consistently reported that the majority of the population support 20mph speed limits at a level of between 69-73%; in Bristol YouGov Tracker surveys in 2013, 2015 & 2017 showed a clear majority of public support for 20mph speed limits with the latest data revealing 62% on residential roads, 72% on busy streets.

Read more on 20mph: a survey of GB attitudes and behaviours

What are the results of the 20mph implementation? – UWE study2019-07-09T16:01:30+01:00

UWE’s Bristol Twenty Miles Per Hour Limit Evaluation (BRITE) study found that, on average, speeds on more than 100 surveyed roads have reduced since the 20mph speed limits were implemented, with average speeds of between 19mph and 26mph on 20mph roads shown in the report.

On 30mph streets, average speeds on the roads surveyed were below 30mph in every area.

The lower speeds were also found during night and summer times, when there is typically less traffic to slow motorists.

Read the UWE BRITE report

Why are 20mph speed limits such a good thing?2016-03-07T15:50:45+00:00

20mph speed limits encourage more considerate driving, leading to safer streets for all road users, including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The lower speeds reduce the risk and severity of road collisions. Detailed analysis over 20 years across London found a reduction in risk and severity of casualties in the roads that had switched to 20 mph.

Reducing traffic speed helps make people feel more confident about being on their local streets and enables children and the elderly to travel independently and safely. Calmer road speeds also help to make walking and cycling more attractive options, leading to less traffic congestion, better health, less noise, more social interaction and stronger communities.

When are 20 mph limits planned to be introduced?2016-03-07T15:50:34+00:00

The rollout of 20 mph speed limits throughout Bristol will begin in January 2014 when the new speed limit is introduced in Central Bristol. The new limit is proposed to be rolled out in a further five phases, subject to consultation.  Some areas of South and East Bristol already have 20 mph speed limits which were introduced as pilots in 2010. These have proved popular with residents: 82% support the 20mph speed limit post-implementation.

What was the decision to introduce the 20mph based on?2016-03-07T15:50:58+00:00

The Council’s decision to implement the new speed limit citywide was outlined in the 2010 Joint Local Transport Plan. The new limit is proposed to reduce the risk and severity of road collisions in Bristol and reduce the negative impact of anti-social speeding within communities. It is one of a number of measures being introduced to help to improve traffic flow, support sustainable transport and active travel and help to make Bristol a more positive place to live and work.

Slower speeds have also shown to support people to become more active, through increased cycling and walking. The success of the Cycling City and Active Bristol initiatives means that more people in the city are choosing to walk or cycle. The majority of the public agree that encouraging walking (82%) and cycling (55%) for short journeys is a good idea.

Completion of the successful pilot scheme in South and East Bristol illustrated that there is support for the scheme by residents and road users. There was a reduction in day time speeds, an increase in walking and cycling levels and no impact on bus reliability or journey times.

Are all roads affected?2016-03-07T15:48:10+00:00

No. Roads that are currently 40mph and 50mph or dual carriageways will not be affected. Some other main roads may be excluded. For example, Hotwells Road in the central area will remain 30 mph. Further exclusions will be considered for each phase. Residents will have the opportunity to comment on potential exclusions are part of the Speed Limit Order process. Details for each phase will be posted on the website.

Why are main roads being considered as well as residential roads?2016-03-07T15:47:02+00:00

60% of collisions happen on the main roads. These are also the roads that are used by the most people and that have the greatest mix of cyclists, pedestrians and vehicles. Residential roads by contrast have drivers typically driving at a slower rate and fewer collisions happen on them because they are used by relatively fewer drivers.

How is it being implemented?2016-03-07T15:46:15+00:00

There are six proposed phases. This first phase covers Central Bristol and will be introduced in January 2014. You can find out more about the scheme in your area by visiting ‘Where‘.

What about recent news reports of increased casualties on 20 mph roads?2016-03-07T15:45:38+00:00

Department for Transport figures for Great Britain show that comparing 2011 to 2010, the number of casualties on 30mph streets dropped by about 1,000 and the number on 20 mph streets rose by about 400. This is exactly what you would expect because many 30 roads have been reclassified as 20 mph roads, so the casualties are now reported as 20 mph casualties as opposed to 30 mph casualties. The Department for Transport does not record how many roads are 20 mph, so it is not possible to calculate the rate or the risk.

Data from the DfT shows that deaths on 20mph roads for the whole of Great Britain were 6 in 2010 and 7 in 2011. This was reported on in the Sun newspaper as a 17% rise and evidence that 20 mph ‘is not working’. However, the really worrying fact is that deaths on 30 mph roads in Great Britain had increased from 545 to 612 between 2010 and 2011 but this was not mentioned in the news article. For Bristol, the casualty numbers are small and it is impossible to draw conclusions about the impact on casualty rates in Bristol, without careful analysis of long term trends.

What is certain is that the speed at which vehicles travel is directly linked to the severity of injuries sustained in the event of a collision. A pedestrian, if struck by a vehicle driving at 20mph, is likely to suffer slight injuries. At 30mph they would be severely hurt and at 40mph or above are likely to be killed. Reducing the speed limit to 20mph will have a direct impact on pedestrian safety and is one of the principal reasons for introducing the scheme throughout the city. It is also certain that children living in the most deprived areas are up to 5 times more likely to be killed as a pedestrian than children living in affluent areas. London data (see above) over 20 years has shown that 20 mph limits there were associated with a reduction in risk and severity of casualties.

I don’t think it’s relevant for my street. What can I do?2016-03-07T15:45:04+00:00

Bristol City Council is holding regular meetings and exhibitions in each of the phases to talk to local residents, business people and drivers about their concerns. You can find out what stage the process is in your area and details of future meetings and exhibitions under the How section or send your concerns to 20mph@bristol.gov.uk where feedback on the scheme is being gathered.

Statutory consultation for each phase will be carried out as part of the Speed Limit Order process. You can find out the date of the consultation in each area and details of how to register your comments by visiting the Where section.

Why was no formal consultation carried out prior to the scheme being agreed?2016-03-07T15:44:19+00:00

As each phase is proposed we have held, and will continue be hold, a series of meetings and exhibitions that will allow local people to find out more about the introduction of the new speed limit, ask questions, register any concerns or offer their support. You will find a list of forthcoming meetings under the Where section, you will also have the opportunity to register your views via email 20mph@bristol.gov.uk. Statutory consultation for each phase will be carried out as part of the Speed Limit Order process.

You can find out the date of the formal consultation in each area and details of how to register your comments by visiting the How section.

Does that mean that if enough people object the scheme will be scrapped?2016-03-07T15:43:34+00:00

We are asking people to carefully consider the benefits that the new lower speed limit will offer. We will be listening to people’s concerns and doing all we can to allay any fears they may have about the proposed introduction of the scheme and the impact on their lives or businesses.  However, if there is a very strong case why a certain street should not fall within the scheme then this will be considered on an individual basis by the council.

Are all vehicles affected?2016-03-07T15:43:04+00:00

If a road has a 20 mph limit on it then this would be the legal speed limit for all motorised vehicles using that road.

How much has it cost?2016-03-07T15:42:31+00:00

The scheme will cost an estimated £2 million over three years, with funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund awarded by the Government in 2012. In terms of future cost savings the average value of prevention of just one less slight and one less serious injury alone is £200,000. There are major potential benefits from increasing walking and cycling levels. The cost of treating ill-health caused by physical inactivity in is estimated at £6.2 million per year.

How will I know when I am in a road with a 20mph speed limit?2016-03-07T15:41:53+00:00

20 mph road markings and large traffic signs are proposed to be installed at the junctions where the speed limit changes. Smaller ’20’ repeater signs are proposed to be placed at regular intervals on either side of the road. There may also be proposed 20 mph flashing Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) to remind drivers to keep to the new lower speed limit if required.

The proposed 20 mph speed limit would not involve the introduction of any physical traffic calming features such as speed humps.

How will it be enforced?2017-06-26T10:34:10+01:00

The police have the responsibility to enforce all speed limits. The police have said the 20 mph speed restrictions will be treated in the same way as any other speed limit in the Avon and Somerset Police area in that enforcement will not be routine, but will be intelligence led and where evidence of clear and excessive offending, accompanied by an aggravating factor, the police may consider enforcement where appropriate.

The City Council and Police are working together to ensure that people accept and understand why they are being asked to drive at 20 mph through education and community speed watch. We will also work to reinforce the new proposed lower limit by using Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) which will flash ’20’ when people exceed the speed limit.

New guidance from ACPO has stated that they are now introducing speed awareness courses as a key part of enforcement in these areas for those who breach the limit. Often these drivers are mistaken or require further education on the local limit and therefore the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS) are developing a speed awareness course. Avon & Somerset Constabulary have agreed to pilot the 20mph speed awareness course as part of their speed limit enforcement programme.

There will be a package of measures to help manage speeds which include engineering, visible interventions and landscaping standards that respect the needs of all road users and raise the driver’s awareness of their environment, together with education, driver information, training and publicity.

Won’t it make driving round Bristol take longer?2016-03-07T15:40:31+00:00

Our research suggests that the reduction in speed will not significantly increase journey times. As an example, driving up Gloucester Road at 20mph takes approximately 30 seconds longer at 20 mph than at current traffic speeds in the off peak. Overall our research suggests that there will be an average 10 second increase to journey times per mile in the Central area. In addition, the lower speed limit can encourage drivers to shift to walking or cycling, particularly when the average journey to work is three miles long. This shift can help lead to fewer vehicles on the road and a reduction in congestion and therefore journey time.

What affect will it have on the environment?2016-03-07T15:39:45+00:00

Studies have so far not conclusively proven either a positive or negative effect on the environment: driving at 20 mph causes some emissions to rise slightly and some to fall. The greatest environmental benefit from the change will come from unlocking the potential for walking or cycling short distances instead of driving. There are 45,000 car trips to work each day in Bristol that are under 3 miles in distance. Adopting a smoother driving style can also achieve lower emissions.

What happens if I break the speed limit?2016-03-07T15:39:09+00:00

The same thing that happens if you drive over 30mph in a 30mph limit. If traffic police are monitoring the street, you will be caught; we hope that people will understand and appreciate the benefits that driving at a lower speed can offer and so will make a positive decision to stick to the new limit.

Are other areas doing something similar?2016-03-07T15:38:35+00:00

20 mph speed limits are in force in other areas throughout the UK, benefitting over 8 million people. To date, they are in force in Newcastle, Liverpool, Warrington, Lancashire, Cambridge, York, Portsmouth, Oxford, the London Boroughs of Southwark, Islington, Camden, Hackney and Waltham Forest, Lewes, Wigan, Bishopbrigg, Sheffield, Middlesborough, Bath, Darlington, Norwich, Leicester, Chichester, Glasgow, Colchester, Edinburgh, Bodmin, Limpley Stoke, Brighton and the Wirral.

Do they work?2016-03-07T15:38:02+00:00

National evidence has shown that sign-only 20 mph speed limits can help to reduce average speeds and improve safety. Evidence from our pilot scheme showed that they increased the number of people walking and cycling, decreased the average speed of vehicles and did not change journey times or the reliability of buses. 82% of those living in the areas of the pilot schemes in Bristol support 20 mph. There are examples in European cities where the speed limit of 30 kph (18 mph) has been implemented and people stick to it. These cities experiences are that once the change happens then the positive impacts mean that people do not want to go back to higher speeds which has been seen in the Bristol pilot areas.

You mention schemes in other parts of the country but evidence shows that they haven’t been successful in reducing speed limits – what will you do differently?2016-03-07T15:37:17+00:00

We are aware of some of the issues that other cities have faced. To build on their experience and make sure that Bristol’s scheme is the most effective possible, Bristol City Council, in conjunction with NHS Bristol, commissioned the Bristol Social Marketing Centre at the University of the West of England to carry out a study looking at the best way to make this change in order to achieve the highest success rate.

We are using the recommendations of their report to help inform the roll out of the schemes. The success of the pilot schemes and the positive feedback we received from local residents confirms that the vast majority of Bristol residents wish to see calmer speeds on their high streets and residential roads. The main concern that people express is that they don’t think other people will stick to it. It took 12 years of the ‘Clunk Click Every Trip’ campaign before front seat belts became legally compulsory in 1983. It took five years to build public support for smoke-free workplaces and public places. It is likely to take time before calm speeds become normal for Bristol but it will happen.

Will it be permanent?2016-03-07T15:36:36+00:00

It is intended that the new speed limit will be permanent and thorough monitoring will be carried out.

Does 20 mph also apply to cyclists?2016-03-07T15:35:58+00:00

People on bikes can be prosecuted for dangerous cycling if they are caught going over the speed limit.

Won’t it make driving harder?2017-06-26T10:34:10+01:00

This will be a change and it will take some conscious decision making as a driver to make a difference. The change can be compared to anti-drink driving campaigns and Clunk, Click, the seatbelt campaign: over time it has become unacceptable to drive while drunk and it is now second nature to put a seatbelt on to drive. It will take some time to become second nature.

In reality we are rarely driving at a consistent speed, particularly in a city where we are constantly accelerating, decelerating and braking to respond to current traffic speeds, traffic lights or junctions.

What has the reaction been to those areas involved in the pilot scheme?2016-03-07T15:34:45+00:00

The reaction from residents where a 20 mph speed limit is in place has been overwhelmingly in favour. 82% are in favour of 20 mph; these areas have also seen an increase in walking and cycling, a decrease in average road speeds and unaffected bus journey times and reliability.

How can you be sure it is working?2016-03-07T15:34:06+00:00

Reducing the speed limit should have a beneficial effect on local communities. We are monitoring: • Traffic speeds • Traffic volumes • Road casualties • Walking and cycling levels • Before and after attitudes

Why are you targeting motorists?2016-03-07T15:33:19+00:00

20 mph creates a safer environment for everyone, including motorists. It will not significantly increase journey times and by easing traffic flow, may actually reduce some journey times.

We are not stopping people from driving, but are trying to balance the needs of drivers with the safety and environment of local residents.

Who do I contact if I want to know more?2016-03-07T15:32:48+00:00

You can email: 20mph@bristol.gov.uk or phone 0117 9036449

Why is it taking so long to introduce?2016-03-07T15:32:02+00:00

Introducing a scheme of this size takes a large amount of planning. We began by trialling the scheme in our pilot areas in South and East Bristol. Following the success in those areas, in July 2012 it was agreed to propose that the lower speed limit would be rolled out city wide. Work on the planning began immediately and the proposed roll out is proposed to be completed by March 2015.

Why can’t it be rolled out more quickly?2016-03-07T15:31:33+00:00

This proposed change for the city is large and so we need to ensure that we are communicating the proposed change properly. There are also a number of official processes to go through in order to legally change a speed limit. This includes the Speed Limit Order (SLO) process. This is an important part of the process and will enable members of the public to have their say on the proposed scheme.

Will the driving test be altered to reflect the value of driving at 20 mph?2016-03-07T15:30:59+00:00

We are liaising with local driving schools and the Institute of Advanced Motorists to ensure that they are aware of the proposed change in the speed limit across the city.

We anticipate that, as is the case now, people learning to drive and then taking their test in Bristol will be expected to comply with the speed limit on the roads on which they are driving.

Why are some 30 mph roads being excluded? I think it should be a blanket 20 mph limit across the city2016-03-07T15:30:28+00:00

It is proposed that the 20 mph speed limit will apply to many roads. However, we are also aware that the layout of some of the main routes in to and out of the city are more suited to a slightly faster speed; they may be wider, be less residential or have less local shops and businesses based along them for instance.

Those are the roads which may remain at 30 mph. Members of the public will have the opportunity to have their say on each proposed phase as part of the formal consultation forming part of the Speed Limit Order process.

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