Focus on 20mph as TfL launches its Vision Zero action plan for London

A much wider use of 20mph limits and a raft of measures to increase compliance are at the heart of a bold plan from Transport for London to reduce serious and fatal casualties in London to zero by 2041. The vital role that lower vehicle speeds can play is underscored as TfL calls on the UK government to amend the standard urban speed limit to 20mph.

Today TfL launches its Vision Zero action plan[1] setting out how it will deliver the Mayor’s Transport Strategy[2]  target that by 2041 no one will be killed or seriously injured on London’s roads. While many global cities have adopted a Vision Zero approach[3] TfL’s action plan leads the way with its array of effective measures.

The plan has a sharp focus on speed and recognises that vehicle speeds play a large role not only in causing casualties on London’s streets and roads but also in the routine intimidation that puts people off walking and cycling. The result is a huge impact on public health as people avoid these more active forms of travel.

20mph speed limits are a core part of the plan and 20mph will be the default speed limit within the central London Congestion charging Zone by 2020. In addition, 20mph limits will be introduced in 37 town centres and high-risk locations in both inner and outer London. 20mph is now set to become the norm across London.

There are major steps too to increase compliance with 20mph limits with a host of measures to support these lower limits. These include re-designing streets for lower speeds as part of the Healthy Streets programme, enhancing the safety camera network and trialling area-based average speed cameras, beefed-up enforcement from the Metropolitan Police, fitting speed-limiting technology to the TfL bus fleet and working with vehicle manufacturers to maximise the opportunities new technology increasingly offers for improved vehicle safety.

TfL also calls for the UK Government to reduce the default urban speed limit from 30mph to 20mph. This is an extremely significant move from the UK’s most important Highway Authority and underscores the belief that 30mph is no longer fit for purpose in environments where vehicles mix with people walking and cycling.

Jeremy Leach, London Campaign Co-ordinator for 20’s Plenty for Us said:

“Many cities around the world have embraced the idea of a Vision Zero approach but this Action Plan from the Mayor of London and TfL is the first to focus singularly on the actions that are really needed to deliver the long-term goal of no deaths and serious injuries on our roads. The focus of the plan on speed is very welcome. The combination of lower 20mph speed limits, improved road and junction design and better crossing facilities, effective police enforcement and the use of the new technology to ensure vehicles stick to the speed limit will go a long way to delivering the fall in road casualties the plan requires. TfL’s call for the UK government to amend the default urban speed limit to 20mph also gives hope to all those communities across the UK demanding a fairer balance between people and vehicles. It is becoming increasingly hard to ignore the pressure that is building for UK’s default limit to be reduced to 20mph.




[3] A belief that no loss of life on the road is acceptable (

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