Wednesday, June 5, 2019

TfL 20mph Speed Limit Needs Consideration for Road Haulage Freight Requirements

Public Consultation on London Congestion Zone Must Understand Logistics Needs
Shipping News Feature
UK – Transport for London (TfL) has today launched a Public Consultation to garner opinion on certain traffic slowing measures to make travel in the metropolis safer. The main thrust of the proposal is to cut speed limits in the Congestion Zone from 30mph to 20mph. Cynics will say that rarely can they exceed 20mph in the Zone anyway, but statistics from TfL say a person hit at 30mph is five times more likely to die than someone hit at 20mph. Road haulage freight is often undertaken 'out of hours' and this needs consideration.

The move is part of the Mayor’s Vision Zero commitment to eliminate death and serious injury on London’s roads and TfL is also proposing to raise the height of pedestrian crossings in seven high-risk locations, including near the busy Embankment and Tower Hill Tube stations and in areas with a high number of pedestrians. Raising the height means effectively introducing speed bumps, with TfL saying this involves making the crossing the same level as the pavement and creating an incline for vehicles.

These raised crossings are designed so that motor vehicles can travel over them without having to accelerate or decelerate, if travelling at or below the 20mph speed limit, as detailed in Department for Transport (DfT) guidelines. Possibly the most controversial proposal is to remove white lines from the centre of the carriageway which TfL says can successfully slow vehicles down as drivers have to pay more attention.

The speed limit changes will be policed with Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) which use LED lighting to draw the driver’s attention to the signed speed limit, and also by the administration’s favourite cash cow, the ‘safety camera’. These, currently fairly sparsely distributed ANPR devices, fetched in multi million penalty charges to the coffers in 2017/18 with 155,729 offenders registered, including 42,771 on 20mph limit roads.

Full details, and a chance to put your views on the matter can be downloaded here with entries closing on 10 July. The changes are to be instituted in May 2020. Freight and road haulage lobby groups will doubtless have plenty to say on the matter and the GMB Union is already seeking feedback from its members on the proposals, with Steve Garelick, GMB Regional Organiser saying today:

"GMB will ask for members involved in transport to look at these proposals as the number of people being killed on London’s streets is unacceptable. The statistics clearly show that lower speeds save lives. Reducing speed limits in central London, may save lives each year but have to be looked at in tandem with the needs of those reliant on transport for their job or those who are reliant on transport by cars, taxis and Light and Heavy Goods vehicles for deliveries.

"Late night traffic, as an example, is somewhat different from day time, and delivery networks are reliant on timed delivery. A suitable balance may be needed, however we will listen to our members before responding on their behalf."