A connected, friendly society flourishes in places where it feels safe to chat or play. People, especially families and elderly, connect outside more easily by slowing down traffic or diverting it away. 20mph is a friendly limit - it raises liveability and quality of life. It’s key to healthy streets. 30mph is isolating.
Our nervous system scans for threats. We’re only open to social connections when it feels safe to chat - when we are not in danger. 20mph is about seven times safer than 30mph. Studies show 20+% fewer casualties.
Loneliness is rising. Age UK say half a million 60+ year olds spend every day alone and almost half a million more see no one 5-6 days a week. The Community Life Survey, 2016-17, found 16-24 year olds in England reported feeling lonely even more often than older people.
80% of public open space in urban areas is roads and pavements. It’s where life happens. Donald Appleyard proved neighbours enjoy three times more friends when living on a light traffic street (2,000 vehicles per day) compared to a high traffic street (16,000 vehicles). Home territory widens as traffic intrusion diminishes. Severance occurs when fast roads cut through communities as it’s dangerous to cross.
The positive societal effects of 20mph are clear. Edinburgh found parental permission to play out doubled from 31% to 66%. Those considering cycling unsafe fell from 26% to 18%. Children cycling to school rose from 4% to 12%. For older primary ages it rose from 3% to 22%. Walking trips rose 7%, cycling trips rose 5% and car trips fell 3%.
Noise almost halves from 30mph to 20mph so it’s easier to engage and more pleasant to sit on a stoop and look up as we are walking, to linger and smile. Sleep and peace of mind improve from a quieter ambience - which aids mental health and reduces stress.
20mph limits mean less unnecessary acceleration and braking, which improves air quality. Fresher air makes chatting outside feel more attractive and healthy.
Smart politicians realise that 20’s friendly, popular and that regenerating connected communities matters for health, happiness and the resilience of their local economy. Why not attend our national conference on 31st Oct. We have international, national and local speakers. See http://www.20splenty.org/2019_conference
Anna Semlyen, National Campaign Manager says :-
“The number and quality of our relationships largely determines our happiness. On slower, less traffic dominated streets people have more and closer friendships than when traffic is intrusive. It’s that simple. 20’s friendly”.