Transport for London (TfL) is proposing to make 20mph the new general speed limit on all TfL roads within the Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ) by 2020.
The announcement is part of London’s first ‘Vision Zero’ action plan, published this week, which sets a plan to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s transport network.
8.9km of new roads within the CCZ will now become 20mph by the end of the current Mayoral term to fulfil this ambition.
TfL is also proposing the introduction of 20mph speed limits on 150km of its road network in many of London’s other town centres and ‘high-risk’ locations across London by 2024.
They have already identified 73 junctions with the worst safety record and are proceeding with a major ‘Safer Junctions’ programme that will see safety improvements made at these locations to reduce road danger for people walking and cycling.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘I don’t accept that deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads are something we just have to put up with.
‘Every single death or serious injury results in heartache and tragedy for those affected, and their loved ones.
‘Our bold and far-reaching plans being announced today are some of most ambitious in the world, and start from the basis that no death or serious injury on London’s roads should be treated as acceptable or inevitable.
‘The design of vehicles on London’s road is also crucial. That’s why we’re using the latest safety technologies to transform London’s buses and bringing in a world-leading safety standard for lorries, alongside investing record amounts in building new infrastructure to make walking and cycling a safe option in every part of the capital.’
Commenting on the action plan, Joshua Harris, director for road safety charity Brake, said: ‘With our cities getting ever more crowded, congestion on our roads increasing, and more people wanting safe cycling and walking options this strategy couldn’t be more timely and we warmly welcome the Mayor’s plans.’
The announcement wasn’t welcomed by everyone, and Edmund King, president of the AA, said: ‘Traffic speeds in central London really haven’t changed much since the horse and cart some 100 years ago.
‘Most drivers would be delighted if they could drive at 20mph across London during the day but in reality traffic speeds are less than half of that.’
TfL also announced a ‘Direct Vision Standard’ for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), which will be the first initiative of its kind in the world to categorise HGVs depending on the level of a driver’s direct vision from a cab.
HGVs will be given a rating between zero and five stars, with only those vehicles rated three stars and above able to operate in London from 2024.
This scheme is set to be introduced in 2020.
A Bus Safety Standard is also being developed for London’s buses that will identify the latest safety technologies and features to significantly reduce casualties on the bus network, and this will be written into all new bus operator contracts from the end of 2018.