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Sadiq Khan looks to further slow down London’s roads as “vision zero” launches

The Mayor of London, Transport for London  and the Metropolitan Police Service have today published London’s first ‘Vision Zero’ action plan, which sets out bold and ambitious plans to eliminate deaths and serious injuries from London’s transport network. Each year more than 2,000 people are killed or seriously injured on London’s streets, taking a devastating toll on the people involved, their families and communities across the capital. Working with the Met Police and London boroughs, TfL’s radical ‘Vision Zero’ approach starts from the premise that no death or serious injury on London’s roads is acceptable or inevitable. It is a bold approach that includes the introduction of lower speed limits on TfL’s road network, the transformation of dangerous junctions, tough safety standards for the design of HGVs and a comprehensive bus safety programme, which includes speed-limiting technology, and a new innovative training course for all drivers. To get London closer to their Vision Zero ambition, the Mayor has set TfL a number of challenging interim targets. By 2022, the aim is to reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on London’s roads by 65 per cent with no-one being killed on or by a bus by 2030, on the road to Vision Zero in 2041. At the heart of the Mayor and TfL’s plans is reducing the speed of vehicles on London's streets, as a key way to reduce road danger. TfL is now proposing to make 20mph the new general speed limit on all TfL roads within the Congestion Charging Zone (CCZ) by 2020, prioritising the part of the capital with a high volume of vulnerable road users including people who walk, cycle or use a motorcycle. 8.9km of new roads within the CCZ will now become 20mph by the end of the Mayoral term to fulfil this ambition. The likelihood of a collision, and resulting death or serious injury increases substantially as vehicle speed increases. If someone who is walking is hit by a vehicle at 20mph, they are five times less likely to be killed than if they were hit at 30mph. If someone is hit by a car doing 30 mph they have a 40 percent chance of being killed; if someone is hit at 20mph they have a 90 per cent chance of surviving. For each 1 mph reduction in speed there is an associated six per cent reduction in collisions in urban areas. TfL is also proposing the introduction of 20mph speed limits on its road network in many of London’s other town centres and high-risk locations across London by 2024, to reduce road danger in these locations. Many London boroughs have 20mph speed limits on their local residential streets, and the Mayor and TfL will work with boroughs to deliver consistent and uniform 20 mph speed limits where it will improve road safety. Overall TfL are aiming for 150km of new lower speed limits to be introduced on the totality of their road network. The police are responding to Vision Zero with a new approach, which will intensify police focus on the most dangerous drivers and amplify the deterrent effect through widespread high visibility roadside operations and patrols. At the same time TfL is committed to the next round of major work to make the most dangerous junctions in London safer. They have already identified 73 junctions with the worst safety record and are proceeding with a major 'Safer Junctions' programme that will see significant safety improvements made at these locations to reduce road danger for people walking and cycling. Progress has already been made in London in recent years. Improvements on the network, including building segregated cycle lanes and improving dangerous junctions, have led to a 45 per cent reduction* in the number of deaths on London’s roads over the past eight years. The most dramatic reduction is car occupants, with better compliance around drink driving, seat belts, speed limits and new car technology playing a part. Other road users, especially pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, now make up 80 per cent of all deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads. As part of his plans to improve air quality, tackle congestion and improve Londoners’ health, the Mayor wants to increase the proportion of people walking, cycling and taking public transport to 80 per cent of journeys by 2041, from 63 per cent now. And the Mayor is investing a record £2.2bn in streets across London to make them safer for walking and cycling, and improve the environment for everyone. 

However, not everyone agrees that a reduction in speed limits will mark a reduction of road related deaths as the London network further grinds to a halt. 

Steve McNamara, of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, said: “Most people would love to go as fast as 20mph in the middle of London. Average traffic speeds are 6mph in the centre – we have the lowest traffic speed of any city in Europe, barring Moscow. “I can’t think of anywhere in central London it would make any difference at all, at least in the daytime. Those roads are all at a virtual standstill.” 

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I don’t accept that deaths and serious injuries on London’s roads are something we just have to put up with. Every single death or serious injury results in heartache and tragedy for those affected, and their loved ones. “Our bold and far-reaching plans being announced today are some of most ambitious in the world, and start from the basis that no death or serious injury on London’s roads should be treated as acceptable or inevitable. At the heart of our plans is reducing the dangers of speeding vehicles across London, which is why we’re proposing a new general speed limit of 20mph on TfL roads within the Congestion Charging Zone - protecting cyclists, pedestrians and all road users in the busiest part of the capital. “The design of vehicles on London’s road is also crucial. That’s why we’re using the latest safety technologies to transform London’s buses and bringing in a world-leading safety standard for lorries, alongside investing record amounts in building new infrastructure to make walking and cycling a safe option in every part of the capital.” 

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