In Perth we are struggling to reduce road speeds in the suburbs despite strong evidence that it would save lives, specially among the young road users. In the UK, where there is a hesitant, but steady implementation of lower speeds in selected suburban areas, evidence on how effective it is mounts.
A recent report from the UK North West Public Health Observatory looking at road traffic collisions and casualties in the region highlighted the results of a modelling exercise that indicated that 140 killed or seriously injured child casualties could have been prevented each year between 2004 and 2008 if 20 mph traffic speed zones had been introduced in residential areas (other than main roads) across the North West. Using similar methodology as the report and applying it to police accident records across Britain, Sustrans believes that as many as 578 killed or seriously injured child casualties could be prevented in Britain each year with the introduction of 20mph into urban areas where 30mph is the current limit.
From the above report: “There are many interventions that have had, and will continue to have, an impact on reducing road traffic collisions and casualties. One intervention that has attracted considerable local and national debate is 20 miles per hour (mph) speed limits. A modelling exercise has been undertaken to estimate the potential for reducing the numbers of casualties if such limits were introduced”
Interestingly, when lower suburban speeds are discussed in the Perth context, the best that can be hoped for is apparently 40 kmh. This is the wrong discussion…….