The number of car-related accidents on Newcastle’s residential streets has dropped by more than half in some areas of the city following the council’s introduction of 20mph speed limits.
The city council is now leading a drive to encourage the roll-out of this initiative throughout England’s eight core cities to export the road safety benefits to the UK’s large metropolitan areas.
Newcastle was only the third local authority in the UK to champion and implement this initiative.
New data available following the completion of the council’s groundbreaking 20mph speed limit initiative in December 2011 shows that residents are much safer in their communities.
Work to introduce speed limits to every residential area was carried out in six phases over an 18-month period from June 2010. Signage was in place in 100% of the city’s residential streets shortly afterwards and the 20mph limit became mandatory.
Evidence is not yet available for all six phases for a full 12 month period post implementation, but the trend from the first three phases is very positive. It shows that the overall number of accidents has reduced by between 24% and 56% in those streets where 20mph speed limits had been introduced.
Areas of the city which achieved reductions of above 50% include parts of Kenton, Blakelaw, West Gosforth, Fawdon and Fenham. Areas where accidents dropped by around 24% include parts of East Gosforth, Dene, North and South Heaton and North and South Jesmond.
In Phase One of implementation, the number of accidents dropped from 25 to 11 in a year. In Phase Two, over 11 months, accidents dropped from 33 to 25 and in Phase Three, over nine months, accidents dropped from 21 to 10.
It is important to note that accident data can be influenced by variations from year to year and in general road safety initiatives can take time to have a positive effect on driver behaviour. Therefore, continued ongoing evaluation will need to take place.
However, while there is still room for improved driver behaviour, the early signs are that 20mph speed limits are having a substantial and beneficial effect on road safety in Newcastle.
Cllr Henri Murison, cabinet member for quality of life at Newcastle City Council, said: "I have been a keen supporter of enforceable 20mph speed limits for many years and introducing them in all residential areas nationally has become more likely as a result of the councils action to implement this in the city.”
“We will now be promoting the importance of slowing down to all drivers who live or work in the city when they are in residential streets. If we are going to encourage more people to walk and cycle, we will need to continue to work tirelessly to make our roads safer."
Page last updated: 13 September, 2012