20MPH Limits for Older People & Independent Aging

Older people can stay safer and more connected with a community-wide 20mph speed limit. 20’s Plenty for Us is calling for 20mph limits for a better future for older people to assist them to travel independently for longer.  

Britain’s population is ageing rapidly. By 2030 over a quarter (27%) of us will be 65 years or over.  Slower speeds are key to retro-fitting built up areas to be elderly, disability and dementia friendly.  At an impact speed of 30mph, the risk of fatality for elderly pedestrians (60+ years) is 47%, (versus 5% for adults)[1]Older people are especially vulnerable due to delayed reactions, slower movements, instability, brittle bones, dementia, visual, hearing and mobility impairments.

The charity Independent Age recently consulted over 4,000 people in compiling their 2030 Vision: Building a better future for older people in the UK[2].  20mph limits were suggested by 20’s Plenty for Us as a practical way of improving quality of life for all ages.  Slower limits reduce danger and avoid 20% of casualties. They also lesson fear of being outside and give those both in and out of vehicles more time to react to hazards.

Older people’s risk factors include a higher prevalence of health problems, worse visual and hearing acuity leading to riskier choices, slower walking and reactions.  Their health outcomes are worse because, with brittle bones, it takes longer to heal[3]. Winter is a dangerous time for older people out and about. They walk even more slowly due to fears of slipping.  Visibility reduces with darker evenings, mists and fog both for drivers and others.

Many older people are no longer drivers.  They walk, cycle, take a bus, train or taxi for health, thrift and ecological reasons.  There comes a time in life when car ownership just isn’t appropriate or safe plus running a car is costly on a pension. 20mph limits can help people to get about safely using their legs or public transport.  It is:

Safer – 20% fewer casualties and if hit, 20mph is 10 times more survivable than 30mph for a 60+ year old

Dementia and ageing friendly – 850,000 people in the UK have dementia: 1 in 14 of over 65’s[4].

Promotes Activity – most of us don’t exercise enough. Increases in walking and cycling are found with 20mph limits.

Community building – less lonely – a concern of over a million older people.

Cost saving – older people, if injured, need more intensive and longer NHS and care service resources to recover.  Prevention pays!

A recent on line petition for regular re-testing of older drivers received over 120,000 signatures its first three days.


Rod King MBE, Founder of 20’s Plenty for Us said:-

“Aging is something that none of us can prevent. For many it will mean a reduction in physical and mental capabilities. The street network should not discriminate against them by endorsing vehicle speeds that are incompatible with those capabilities. With an aging population and an increasing understanding of the need to comply with the Equality Act 2010, authorities at local and national level must fully take account of the needs of vulnerable road users and set an appropriate 20mph speed limit. Our streets should be accessible by all and not solely the fit and the brave.”

More information is at http://www.20splenty.org/older_people_deserve_20mph_limits

20s plenty myths

(Note that all para references are to the DfT Guidance 01/2013.)

“You can’t have a 20mph limit on an A or B road” – UNTRUE

See para 84 :-

84.Based on this positive effect on road safety, and a generally favourable reception from local residents, traffic authorities are able to use their power to introduce 20mph speed limits or zones on:

Major streets where there are – or could be – significant numbers of journeys on foot, and/or where pedal cycle movements are an important consideration, and this outweighs the disadvantage of longer journey times for motorised traffic.

This is in addition to

 Residential streets in cities, towns and villages, particularly where the streets are being used by people on foot and on bicycles, there is community support and the characteristics of the street are suitable.

20mph limits have been set on many A roads and “major” roads. These include London, Edinburgh, Thirsk, Belfast, Portsmouth,etc.

 “You can’t have a 20mph limit if the current average speed is above 24mph” – UNTRUE

Whilst guidance in para 95 does refer to “If the mean speed is already at or below 24 mph on a road, introducing a 20 mph speed limit through signing alone is likely to lead to general compliance with the new speed limit.”, this does not preclude the setting of a 20mph road if average before speeds are above 24mph. In fact para 96 makes specific reference to 20mph roads in Portsmouth where the previous speed was above 24mph. Para 97 also refers to roads with pre-speeds above 24mph and states “Traffic authorities are already free to use additional measures in 20 mph limits to achieve compliance, such as some traffic calming measures and vehicle activated signs, or safety cameras.”

“You can’t have a 20mph limit if the local police don’t support it” – UNTRUE

There is no requirement for the police to agree any locally set speed limit. We have a long held tradition in this country that :-

o Elected representatives of the people set laws.

o A professional police force enforces those laws.

o An independent judiciary sentences offender.

Any attempt by the police to undermine this or for elected representatives to veto their setting of limits based on police funding or preferences would be counter to this important principle.

Note that Para 85 makes specific reference to the enforcement of 20mph limits stating “To achieve compliance there should be no expectation on the police to

provide additional enforcement beyond their routine activity, unless this has been explicitly agreed.”

Many police forces including Lancashire, Merseyside, Thames Valley, Avon & Somerset, Cheshire, Cambridge, Metropolitan and City of London are conducting enforcement of 20mph limits. There are also NDORS20 training courses available for some offenders which enables 20mph limits to be enforced in the same way as 30mph limits.

· “We can’t reduce the speed limit because there haven’t been enough casualties on this road” – UNTRUE

Para 30 states the factors to be considered when setting speed limits:-


The following will be important factors when considering what is an appropriate speed limit:

o history of collisions, including frequency, severity, types and causes;

o road geometry and engineering (width, sightlines, bends, junctions, accesses and safety barriers etc.);

o road function (strategic, through traffic, local access etc.);

o Composition of road users (including existing and potential levels of vulnerable road users);

o existing traffic speeds; and

o road environment, including level of road-side development and possible impacts on residents (e.g. severance, noise, or air quality).

While these factors need to be considered for all road types, they may be weighted differently in urban or rural areas. The impact on community and environmental outcomes should also be considered.

Hence a history of collisions is only one of the factors to be taken into account. Also note para 31 and 32 and in particular the sentences I have highlighted:-

31. Before introducing or changing a local speed limit, traffic authorities will wish to satisfy themselves that the expected benefits exceed the costs. Many of the costs and benefits do not have monetary values associated with them, but traffic authorities should include an assessment of the following factors:

o collision and casualty savings;

o conditions and facilities for vulnerable road users;

o impacts on walking and cycling and other mode shift;

o congestion and journey time reliability;

o environmental, community and quality of life impact, such as emissions, severance of local communities, visual impact, noise and vibration; and  costs, including of engineering and other physical measures including signing, maintenance and cost of enforcement.

The speed limit appraisal toolkit, found at section 5, will help assess the full costs and benefits of any proposed schemes.


Different road users perceive risks and appropriate speeds differently, and drivers and riders of motor vehicles often do not have the same perception of the hazards of speed as do people on foot, on bicycles or on horseback. Fear of traffic can affect peoples’ quality of life and the needs of vulnerable road users must be fully taken into account in order to further encourage these modes of travel and improve their safety. Speed management strategies should seek to protect local community life.

· “20mph limits are not enforceable” – UNTRUE

See “local police support above”. 20mph limits as long as the correct Traffic Regulation Order has been made, and the correct signage installed are as enforceable as any other speed limit. Note that when a TRO is made then the road is “de-restricted” which means that the national 30mph limit no longer applies by nature of its lighting. Hence the only limit that is enforceable is the 20mph limit as per the TRO.

Vison Zero- Should there be National a road casualty target? conference 15th October Camden

Vision Zero says that no one should die or be seriously injured on roads. Casaulties are predictable and therefore preventable
The launch conference for the UK Vision Zero campaign in Camden London is on the afternoon of 15th October.

As part of the conference preparation Prof John Whitelegg wrote an article for Local Transport Today. Please find attached the LTT article concept note and the advert for the conference.

Please come to the conference. There are discounts to campaigners. Ask via anna@visionzero.org.uk .
Circulate the advert to as many people on your lists and in your organisation as possible and please let me know what you think about the campaign and the concept.

Vision Zero is much bigger than 20mph limits and road safety. It is part of a transformation of the total transport policy, urban design, walking and cycling world. it is about traffic reduction, road traffic danger reduction, decarbonisation, climate change and a huge increase in walking and cycling. It is about removing fear from our transport choices.
Bookings via https://www.transportxtra.com/tx-events/?id=2285

VisionZero advert

Vision Zero LTT articleJW

20mph Helps Children Reach Places to Play Out

A 20’s Plenty for Us Briefing June 2015

Children are recommended an hour of active play daily, ideally outdoors. With wide area 20mph limits they can more safely reach the best play locations. 20mph is child protection. It encourages parents to allow kids out so children can move, be fit, sporty, explore, have fun and see friends. Playing out encourages walking or cycling to school.

Most British children want to play out more than they are allowed. Parents fear traffic, yet seem less aware that sitting inside has serious long term developmental risks too – the ‘inactivity time bomb’. Children’s wellbeing improves if they can make their own way ‘free range’ to school, friends or other play opportunities. Constant chaperoning restricts friendships, is costly in adult time and fuel bills. Happy children are not ‘fenced in’ to backyard only play. Children need space to explore from their door and run about with others. Active play is fun and aids physical, educational and social progress. It’s key to future winners in sports and our Olympic and Tour de France legacy. Vitamin D from sunlight also aids healthy development.

It is the responsibility of adults to facilitate children’s active travel and play. Returning more of children’s human rights to free movement and accessibility will also save our nation in long term health and social care costs. Note that 25% of London’s children are obese by age 11.

Few roads are suitable for football or other games. Yet 20mph limits are a huge help to children to reach appropriate play places like parks, friend’s gardens, play areas, traffic free paths, or streets with restricted traffic like cul de sacs. 20mph liberates kids, and especially their mum’s time, to have more fun! It helps us grow fit children, good at sports, who can concentrate better, with confidence, initiative and a knowledge of their local streets plus a closer sense of a community with neighbours – kids able to walk and cycle.
Permission to play out doubled in South Edinburgh’s 20mph limit from 31% to 66%. Cycling to school tripled[1].
Play streets are temporarily closed to cars to prioritise play. Children need approach roads with 20mph limits to reach such play opportunities. Play England are working on a project funded by the Department of Health with Playing Out and London Play to reactivate a culture of street play[2].
Rod King MBE, founder of 20’s Plenty for Us said :-
“Us adults must remember that streets ‘belong’ to children just as much as adults. 20mph streets to help children get about on their own is a universal aspiration. It’s a key reason why we ask for the National Urban Speed limit to be 20mph.”
20’s Plenty call for 20mph limits so that children can play out and gain confidence in walking and cycling locally as a precursor to active, independent travel to school and in setting up exercise habits for life.
[1] http://www.20splentyforus.org.uk/PRel/Edinburgh.pdf
[2] For more information on Street Play visit http://www.playengland.org.uk/streetplay or contact streetplay@playengland.net

Letter in local press dealing with pollution

Tom Baker’s assertion that the new 20mph speed limits contribute to our air pollution is a useful prompt to our council to get on with explaining to us all why they, like so many councils, are implementing lower speeds where we live, learn and shop. (Letters, April 2, 2015)

In reality tested evidence shows that lower speeds cause very little difference in journey time and can even reduce air pollution, depending on driving style, because traffic flows more smoothly rather than accelerating to 30+mph from one queue in order to stand at the next.

But the real saving in lower speeds is in making it feel safe enough for people to choose active travel options, walking or riding bikes rather than using their cars for short journeys and, which is the most polluting use of vehicles.

The children and adults who do so not only improve their health generally, they are also now known to be inhaling less pollution than those inside vehicles.

Readers can visit 20splentyforsheffield.org.uk for factual information regarding the benefits of lower speeds.

Some highlights from the 6th Annual ‘20splentyforus’ Conference in Cambridge

midst presentation from various Councils and bodies, 2 stood out in particular as having possible relevance for us in Sheffield:

Paul Butcher, Director of Public Health, Calderdale. (This and al presentations via Landor link below)

Paul has led on some fundamental changes in approach/structure re the implementation of 20 in his patch:
Moved focus of criteria for schemes from KSI nos to Health Impact and well being Outcomes
Emphasised Active Travel
Given strong Leadership on aims like ‘X area should be safe for 10 yr olds to walk/cycle to school’

And to do so he has clearly linked the value of lower speeds to:

Introduction of wide area 20mph limits to suit road function.
Increased Active Travel choices – walking and cycling.
Improvement in air quality.
Improvement in ‘Place’, social cohesion and local economy.
Increase in healthy lifestyle and health outcomes.

And made structural changes such as bringing Road safety into the PH Directorate to pool resources/join up approach.

2. Nicola Wass, CEO of SO-MO, a pvte org in Liverpool contracted by the Council to ‘market’ 20mph. http://www.so-mo.co.uk/

Her work/presentation is summarised brilliantly here: http://bit.ly/1xsTIHQ

This is the work behind Liverpools fantastic ‘20 effect’ campaign http://www.the20effect.com/

The beauty of this is that they have moved the emphasis from a top down, Authority led implementation/’imposition’ of 20 to one coming up from the Community.

I collared Nicola and asked what it would cost for their org to bring the knowledge and expertise they have gained in Liverpool to a.n.other Authority – she said an Authority could see significant benefits from an outlay of £50.000.

Presentations here: https://landorlinks.box.com/s/95tg0d7c9kz2yxw9yi28buz24dsyyn4e

Richard Attwood

20 Effect campaign to be shown on The One Show. Wed 8th April

From Rod King MBE

A couple of weeks ago I had a call from a BBC researcher about 20mph limits.

After a request to provide a “human interest” story, I put them in touch with Nicola Wass at SoMo to talk about how compliance was being boosted in Liverpool by working with children.

I am delighted that they took up the offer and a session on this will take place on the One show tomorrow :-

the film about Liverpool City Council’s The 20 Effect campaign will be shown and discussed tomorrow evening on The One Show!

The episode is due to air at 7pm on BBC 1 on Wednesday 8th April 2015, during the episode our recent work will be shown and discussed by comedian Jack Dee, broadcaster and columnist Caitlin Moran and Slade’s Neville ‘Noddy’ Holder.

Last week, a film crew from the BBC joined So-Mo, Merseyside Police, Blackmoor Park Junior School and The Bobbie Colleran Road Safety Campaign to record ‘Kids Court’. During this activity, drivers caught speeding on nearby 20mph roads were pulled over by Merseyside Police, drivers were then offered a Fixed Penalty Notice or the chance to sit down with local children to discuss the dangers and consequences of speeding.

I just wanted to make you aware of this broadcast so you can tune in tomorrow!

Thanks to John Callaghan at SoMo for letting us know.

Rod King MBE

Radio Sheffield – follow up

Radio Sheffield bit done, thanks again for input.
Link to the Rony Robinson show here:
We are on at  22 mins in  but quite  brief in the event due to big storey abot the A&E crisis.
listen also to the woman I was talking to in the waiting area 35 mins in, interesting she picked up on the social benefits! – a worthwhile conversation..
Note that Sheffield Council were invited but had no one available. This was just the sort of opportunity they should have be making the most of so we will be writing to say so & offer our services if they are so short or busy.
See attached paper for notes