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Speed Limits - Policy Development

31 August 2017

This UK parliamentary briefing paper sets out the legislation and guidance on speed limits and how highways authorities can vary limits in their areas. It also explains policy towards 20 mph, motorway and rural speed limits and how speed limits are enforced.  It is a very useful summary of the development of effective policies which could be replicated in any juristrction.

In built up areas the general speed limit is 30mph; on single carriageway roads it is 60 mph and on dual carriageways, 70 mph. However, highway authorities have the power to vary the speed limits on the roads they control – for example in urban areas, particularly around schools, there has been a growing trend for local highway authorities to reduce the limit to 20 mph. Similarly single and dual carriageways often have a lower limit than that indicated above – particularly as they approach heavily populated areas.

There is a clear relationship between speed and risk . Effective speed management comprises a series of interventions that can have great benefits for road safety; one intervention is the setting and signing of speed limits

.Further evidence on the effectiveness of speed management can be found on The Road Safety Observatory  and the Global Transport Practice Global Transport Practice web site.

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