Suffolk's 30 Mph Speed Limit Initiative
JEANES M, Suffolk County Council, UK
For many years, Suffolk has operated a system of reviewing 'on demand' new speed limits or alterations to existing restrictions. By the early part of 1994 about 70 separate requests were held by the County's traffic management team and about half of these
For many years, Suffolk has operated a system of reviewing 'on demand' new speed limits or alterations to existing restrictions. By the early part of 1994 about 70 separate requests were held by the County's traffic management team and about half of these had already been through detailed consultation with the local Parish and, particularly, the Chief Constable. At that time there was funding sufficient for about 25 or so new restrictions each year and all requests were assessed using the principles in Circulars Roads 1/80 and 4/83, although not always adhering strictly to them, (particularly in respect of accident rates).
There was also keen interest in all aspects of achieving speed reduction. The Department of Transport had produced its excellent document "Killing Speed and Saving Lives" which, for the first time, made explicit the research based link between speed and casualty reduction (a reduction in average speed of the order of lkph could save 5 percent of all injury accidents). The "Kill Your Speed Not a Child" Campaign (40,30,20) was, by then, also well established. Changes in legislation which would facilitate use of traffic calming were planned and the by-passed villages demonstration project was under way. The use of speed detection cameras for enforcement purposes was well established and featuring widely in various local authorities speed reduction efforts.
Of considerable significance also was the advice in the new Road Circular 1/93 which, for the first time, made clear that the speed limit criteria in that document were to be used in setting speed limits on trunk roads and that, although the criteria were commended to local authorities for use on other roads, it was for each of them to decide whether or not to use the trunk road guidelines in any particular case on local roads. In other words it became a matter of judgement by the County Council as to whether a speed limit should be imposed and at what level.
In response to this activity at a national level, Suffolk County Council sought to continue its use of physical traffic calming measures where there was a recorded accident problem, to continue its use of other physical speed reduction measures in selected, more rural (village) locations, to introduce (jointly with the Suffolk Police) mobile speed enforcement cameras, to continue high profile anti-speeding campaigns and to set up a Speed Management Panel to oversee these items and, pafflcularly, to introduce new speed limits in Suffolk's villages using the presumption that the only appropriate speed limit is 30mph.
Association for European Transport